Gamers know the story by now. Venerable Japanese game company Nintendo hit upon a brilliant idea that has been translated into their latest system, the Switch. Rather than just being a home game console or a portable gaming platform, the #Nintendo Switch tries to be both and does so very well. When it was released last March, it enjoyed a super-strong opening, thanks to its awesome initial lineup of titles and its versatility. Having a hybrid game system, with a game controller that can switch from two halves to two separate controllers on their own is incredibly neat. But that controller feature has been called out by #Gamevice, a peripheral tablet manufacturer because it hews similar to its products.

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‘Similar’ products

Early this week, Gamevice filed a lawsuit against Nintendo for patent infringement. They are claiming that the #Joy-Con variable controllers used on the Switch system are copied after similar products that they have designed for use with tablet computers. Evidence was on hand as well, with a 2015 patent issued to Gamevice for a “Combination computing device and game controller with flexible bridge section,” which is a pair of controllers linked together by attaching to the sides of a tablet.

This setup gives a tablet user a set of buttons, joysticks and a directional pad that could be used for a variety of tablet-based game apps. And it has a near similarity to the Joy-Cons of the Nintendo Switch. Like Gamevice’s tablet peripheral, the Joy-Cons are a pair of wireless devices that function as a controller when attached to a dock in console mode.

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They can then attach to the sides of the Switch in portable mode, or can function as separate controllers with motion tracking capability. Gamevice is, therefore, calling on the courts to have Nintendo stop producing its Joy-Cons, plus an award of damages.

Tablet peripherals

The Gamevice Company started out in 2008 as WikiPad, a startup founded by Brendan Iribe, currently the CEO of Oculus VR. It was awarded a patent for its tablet-use controller rig in 2015 years before the advent of the Nintendo Switch. Other peripherals that Gamevice have had a hand, it was a wireless controller in 2012-13. The company is also currently producing its gamepads to be compatible with Apple iPad devices, with the latest iteration being in 2017.

With the lawsuit filed, the court responsible will then issue a summons for the two parties, namely Gamevice and Nintendo of America, standing for the main Japanese Nintendo office. Both companies have not commented on the suit.