Nintendo have been working on the 3DS and its innovative glasses-free 3D since the original DS launched, but a former Sony engineer is claiming he invented “technology relating to displaying stereoscopic (3-D) images on-screen for viewing with the naked eye”, and has a patent for it. Now Nintendo has been hit with a patent infringement lawsuit.
Seijiro Tomita of Tomita Technologies cites his 2003 patent (U.S. Patent No. 7,417,664; issued in August 2008) for the glasses-free stereoscopic 3D tech in a suit filed in June, which he alleges Nintendo violates with its 3DS. A similar patent was granted in Japan as well. Tomita retired from a 30-year stint at Sony in 2002, after which he started to lock down nearly 70 patents for various purported inventions, including the one noted here.
Says the suit: “Mr. Tomita has done substantial research and development in the area of stereoscopic display technology. Among other things, Mr. Tomita invented and developed technology relating to displaying stereoscopic (3-D) images on-screen for viewing with the naked eye, i.e., without utilizing glasses or other devices,. The ’664 patent asserted in this action covers 3-D technology invented and developed by Mr. Tomita.“
Unfortunately, Tomita does not specifically detail how the 3DS in fact infringes, leaving a potentially ambiguous charge here. Other companies like HTC are now introducing products such as the EVO 3D smartphone, featuring similar glasses-free 3D effects.
Needless to say this is not the first time Nintendo has faced legal action over elements of its systems, and is certainly won’t be the last. You can start counting the days until someone begins putting out claims against Wii U’s controller.
No comment on the suit from Nintendo at this time.