The UK High Court has ruled that the popular Nintendo Wii games console infringes two Philips patents. Damages have not yet been decided, but are likely to be substantial, since they potentially cover all sales of Wii consoles in the UK since their launch in 2006.
One of the two infringed patents relates to a pointing device which a user can point towards an object in the room, such as a Hi-Fi system, with the system knowing what is being pointed to, and enabling the user to control the item. Commands may be given by pressing buttons on the device or by making gestures with the device in the air.
The other Philips patent relates to a system for controlling the movements of a virtual person, in a virtual environment, in response to a user's body movement.
Nintendo challenged the validity of both patents. They succeeded in invalidating some of the claims of the patents, but were nevertheless found to infringe other claims that were held to be valid.
Philips is currently pursuing parallel infringement cases against Nintendo in Germany, France and the U.S.; however this UK decision is the first to issue. Nintendo has said that it will appeal.