Nintendo is under investigation for copyright infringement by the US International Trade Commission (ITC). The reason for the lawsuit is over the design of the video game console, the Nintendo Switch, and design of the detachable controllers made. Gamevice, the company pursuing a seek and desist order, feels like they have a strong case.

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The similarities

The Nintendo Switch is a portable console with detachable controllers and is the successor of the Wii and Wii U that also utilize detachable controllers. The Wii was released in 2006. The same overall design of having detachable controllers has been the same up until Nintendo made the Switch portable.

Accessory designer, Gamevice, released portable controllers for the iPhone and an Android tablet gaming console, named the Wikipad, with a similar design to the Switch.

Nintendo under investigation for switch design (Image via Bago Games/Flickr)
Nintendo under investigation for switch design (Image via Bago Games/Flickr)

Gamevice is claiming Nintendo is infringing on both of the patents for the portable controllers and the design of their Wikipad. The goal is to bring all sales of the Switch in the US to a halt.

Not a first for either company

This is not the first time Gamevice has filed a claim against Nintendo. Last August, Gamevice filed a claim for copyright infringement on the Switch. The case was dropped the following October voluntarily. This time around Gamevice feels more confident in their claim.

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Wikipad consoles do not have the same features as the Switch. Joy-Con controllers made for the Switch are detachable unlike the controllers made for the iPhone. The controllers for the iPhone are dependent on the iPhone while the Joy-Con controllers act independently and have added features like Rumble vibration and IR sensors.

Other than the controllers being attached to the side of a device there is not much else similar that requires Nintendo to feel concerned about.

Up to the ITC

It ultimately comes down to the decision made by the ITC while they investigate "certain portable gaming console systems with attachable handheld controllers and components." To be exact, whether Nintendo did infringe on Gamevice's designs.

With the sales of the Switch being as high as 10 million units in 2017 alone, close to the Wii U at 13.5 million overall, Nintendo will more than likely not back down in this legal battle if the case is ruled in favor of Gamevice.

Gamevice may decide to drop the lawsuit again which would be even better for Nintendo. That may not be as likely since they are coming back for round two.

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