Japanese gaming giant Nintendo has been served with a lawsuit relating to its latest console the Nintendo Switch.

Gamevice, a tablet peripherals manufacturer who specialise in gaming products and based in Los Angeles, California, claim that the Switch infringes on copyright.

The American company claims that two patents related to its Wikipad device have been infringed by Nintendo, and are now seeking damages in court.

What could this mean for Nintendo?

This complaint from Gamevice could even pause imports of the console, which has seen international success since its launch in March 2017.

The Nintendo Switch is the fastest-selling video game console in history in many regions, and has financially revitalized Nintendo’s flagging fortunes.

It’s not the first time that Gamevice has gone after Nintendo over similarities between the two companies’ devices. In August 2017, Gamevice attempted to sue Nintendo for violating patents, but their lawsuit was dropped in October.

But now the American company have filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC), who are currently investigating.

In an announcement, the ITC have said: "The products at issue in the investigation are controller systems with parts that attach to two sides of an electronic device, such as a smartphone or tablet, and the parts fit into a user's hands and have gaming controls.”

What exactly is the patent infringement?

The Switch comes in the form of a gaming tablet, with two detachable controllers that can also be used as main controllers on either side of the device.

Gamevice have said that the Nintendo Switch violates patents they hold on attachable handheld gamepads, and also their related accessories.

The International Trade Commission have now said they will investigate, and conclude their findings within 45 days.

Could Nintendo really be guilty of patent infringement?

Although there are similarities between the two company’s controllers - both attach to either side of a device - industry analysts believe that the differences are too great for Nintendo to have concerns about the action.

Unlike the Joy-Con controllers found on the Switch, Gamevice’s controllers are designed for use with a smartphone, and can’t be used while detached. Joy-Con controllers meanwhile can be used wirelessly, and utilise such features as vibration and an infrared sensor.

While Gamevice have tried and failed to gain monetary compensation from Nintendo previously for what they see as copyright infringement, it seems like they believe they stand a better chance with an ITC complaint regarding patents.

The ITC have 45 days to investigate before presenting their findings.