Fed. Cir. Remand Drifts Nintendo Controller Case Back to District Court


The Federal Circuit recently reversed a district court opinion finding that Nintendo controllers did not infringe a patent on combining data streams. Genuine Enabling Technology (GET) had sued Nintendo alleging that some of Nintendo’s controllers, particularly the Wii Remote, Wii Nunchuk, WiiU Gamepad, Switch Joy-con, and Switch Pro, infringe their US patent 6,219,730. In holding that Nintendo did not infringe, the district court relied on Nintendo’s narrower construction of the claim term “input signal”. The district court determined that GET disclaimed a broader construction when distinguishing from a reference during prosecution and relied on an expert witness for Nintendo to determine the construction of the term.

However, the Federal Circuit reversed the construction and remanded back to the district court. The Federal Circuit found the district court relied too heavily on the testimony from Nintendo’s expert witness. The district court should have relied more on the prosecution history, which did not show a clear and unmistakable disavowal of claim scope. The case will now go back to the district court based on a broader construction of “input signal” that favors GET.