Nintendo Dinged $30.2 Million For Patent Infringement

By March 14, 2013 March 24th, 2020 News
Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo 3DS

If there is one thing we could say about the 3D industry, it’s that the politics always manage to keep it interesting!  Most recently, Nintendo got charged with a $30.2 million dollar judgement in damages for infringing on a display patent by Seijiro Tomita, inventor of the technique used to display glasses free 3D on the Nintendo 3DS.

Nintendo claimed that their technology is significantly different from what Tomita shared, and that there were several companies presenting glasses free 3D options to Nintendo, but the courts sided with Tomita in the end.

What hasn’t been revealed in the press is that John Merritt, one of the foremost experts in stereoscopic 3D technology, was a non-partial expert witness in the case.

Join the discussion 8 Comments

  • Avatar Likay says:

    Too many patents and practically noone doing anything with it these days. It’s obviously better holding on til someone else successes and try suing some cream off it…

  • callum says:


    Completely agree….. maybe the right to sue should be reserved until you can demonstrate a fully working product.

  • Avatar Fredz says:

    It’s a shame, I’ve read the patent and there is nothing substantial in it.

    Also that’s not as if there was no prior art for autostereoscopic displays with parallax barriers :
    – 1990 : Jesse B. Eichenlaub. Autostereoscopic display for use with a personal computer. Proc. SPIE 1256, Stereoscopic Displays and Applications, 156 (September 1, 1990)
    – 1993 : I SONO , H., YASUDA , M., AND S ASAZAWA , H. 1993. Autostereoscopic 3-D display using LCD-generated parallax barrier. Electronics and Communications in Japan 76, 7, 77–84.
    – 1999 : Jonathan Harrold, Adrian M. S. Jacobs, Graham J. Woodgate, David Ezra. 3D Display Systems Hardware Research at Sharp Laboratories of Europe : an update.

    There are even more ancient references (Kaneko 1987) but I can’t find the related papers.

    Or that there were not a lot of products with autostereoscopic displays released long before the Nintendo 3DS (in 2011) :
    1990 : DTI 100M : autostereoscopic monitor ;
    2002 : Sharp SH251iS : autostereoscopic mobile phone ;
    2003 : Sharp SH505i : autostereoscopic mobile phone ;
    2003 : Sharp PC-RD3D : autostereoscopic laptop ;
    2007 : Samsung SCH-B710 : autostereoscopic mobile phone ;
    2009 : Hitachi Wooo H001 : autostereoscopic mobile phone ;
    2009 : Fujifilm FinePix Real 3D W1 : camera with autostereoscopic display ;
    2010 : Range Rover dual-view screen ;
    2010 : Samsung W960 : autostereoscopic mobile phone ;
    2010 : Spice M-67 3D : autostereoscopic mobile phone ;
    2010 : Sharp 003SH : autostereoscopic mobile phone ;
    2011 : Sharp 005SH : autostereoscopic mobile phone.

    I feel really bad for Nintendo and innovation in general, I hope the verdict will be reverted like it was the case for the Anascape patent troll (Wii controller) three years ago.

  • Avatar cybereality says:

    Fredz: Here is a patent from 1903!!!


    Can’t believe that Nintendo lost with so much prior art. The system is broke.

  • Avatar android78 says:

    Yep… and people still look at me sideways when I say that the whole patent system (as it currently stands) is bogus. I doubt that the new first to patent laws will help any either.
    This also is why I questioned if Palmer had done any review of the patents that may be involved with the rift. If nintendo can lose for something like this, you have to be a little concerned.

  • Avatar Fredz says:

    >Yeah, I only quoted patents or devices that were relevant to the claim (ie. parallax barrier with LCD displays). Actually it was invented even earlier than 1903, it was in 1896 by Auguste Berthier (also mentionned in Wikipedia) :


    And the first known use of this technique (altough not for 3D) can be seen in this painting of “Frederick IV of Denmark and his sister Sophie” by Gaspard Antoine de Bois-Clair (1692) :


  • Avatar Neil says:

    I got more details about this case and the stakes, and there is more to this than meets the eye (pun intended). I’m hoping to be able to share more details on Monday.


  • Avatar Fredz says:

    Thanks Neil, I’d be curious to know how Nintendo could loose this case considering how much prior art there is. I guess it should concern a very specific detail of their implementation, but there is nothing technical in the patent from Tomita so I really don’t understand.

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