Given how fast and how far we’ve come in terms of technology, it’s really no surprise that companies will eventually start stepping on each other’s toes in terms of patent infringement, although lately it does appear to be rather excessive. A recently published patent reveals that Sony may have patented something similar to Nintendo’s Wii U which may or may not escalate into another patent infringement lawsuit.
The patent was originally filed in 2009, a good one and a half years before Nintendo’s Wii U was revealed at E3 a couple of months back. According to a portion of the patent’s description:
“A portable electronic device comprises a display facing in a first direction, a video camera facing in a second direction substantially opposite to the first direction, a receiver operable to receive supplementary image data from a remote image source, the supplementary image data comprising an indication of where a supplementary image is positioned with respect to a reference image, and in which the portable electronic device is arranged in operation to display a captured image from the video camera on the display of the portable electronic device, and when the captured image comprises all or part of the reference image as displayed on a separate display, the portable electronic device is arranged in operation to display the supplementary image positioned with respect to the reference image, instead of the corresponding part of the captured image.”
However given the position of the Wii U’s camera (front facing) and its use in self portraits in games and for gestures, Nintendo may very well be able to avoid a possible patent infringement lawsuit, not to mention that images displayed on the Wii U’s gamepad is used to interact with the screen as opposed to a direct visual overlap that is described in the Sony patent.
So while there is a good chance that Nintendo will be able to avoid a lawsuit, considering how Sony and Nintendo are direct competitors when it comes to gaming consoles, would it really be surprising to see Sony attempt to sue Nintendo and try to request for an injunction or royalties?