Nintendo is under investigation in the U.S. for potential patent infringement over its Switch console.
Nintendo was the target of a lawsuit from mobile gaming peripheral company Gamevice in 2017. Gamevice argues that the Nintendo Switch console infringes on its patents for its controllers due to the detachable nature of the Switch's joy cons. The company had developed extensions for mobile gaming that could be fastened on to devices in order to give them the feeling and functionality of a game controller.
Although Gamevice's initial suit did not seem to gain any traction, a second complaint was filed to the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) on March 30, which subsequently led to the USITC opening an investigation against Nintendo on May 1. The outcome of the USITC verdict is, however, months away.
"The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States and sale of certain portable gaming console systems with attachable handheld controllers and components thereof that infringe patents asserted by the complainant," the USITC wrote in a statement on May 1.
Until the USITC has reached a conclusion, Nintendo will still be allowed to continue the sale of the Nintendo Switch, which has already shipped more than 4.8 million units since its release on March 3, 2017. If the ESITC rules against Nintendo, however, it could have consequences for the future of the console.
The investigation into Nintendo comes only three weeks after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a warning to the company for its use of illegal void-if-removed stickers on its devices. If Nintendo fails to do so, the FTC has the right to pursue legal action against the company.