Nintendo Damages Reduction in Intellectual Property Suit

August 16, 2013

Nintendo Co. won a 50 percent reduction of the $30.2 million in damages a jury awarded to a former Sony Corp. employee who claimed the company’s 3DS game and video player infringed his 3-D technology patent.

“The jury’s damages award was at least twice as large as the amount a reasonable jury could have awarded based on the evidence presented at trial and thereby must have involved the degree of excessive speculation that shocks the judicial conscience,” U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan said in a decision Aug. 14.

The judge gave plaintiff Seijiro Tomita and his company the choice of accepting $15.1 million in damages or undertaking a new trial on damages.

Tomita, who worked for Sony for almost 30 years before quitting in 2002, sued Nintendo in June 2011. That year Nintendo, the world’s biggest video-game console maker, introduced the 3DS, which allows users to see 3-D images without special glasses.

In dispute is patent 7,417,664, which was issued in August 2008 and covers a form of a stereoscopic image picking up and display system.

Joe Diamante, a lawyer for Tomita, didn’t immediately respond to a call to his office after regular business hours seeking comment on the judge’s ruling.

“Nintendo will appeal the jury’s verdict and reduced damages award,” Charlie Scibetta, senior director of Nintendo of America’s corporate communications, said in an e-mailed statement.

The case is Tomita Technologies USA LLC v. Nintendo Co., 11-cv-04256, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

(With assistance from Edvard Pettersson in Los Angeles. Editors: Stephen Farr, Mary Romano)

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