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Gamevice vs. Nintendo Legal Battle: Will The Switch Get Banned?

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Nintendo Switch has been an instant blockbuster. The hybrid console is selling much faster than Nintendo could manufacture. Nintendo is happy with the grand success of Switch, but some folks are not. A gaming accessory manufacturer called Gamevice has filed a lawsuit alleging that the Nintendo Switch design was copied from its Android-based gaming slate called Wikipad.

Nintendo Switch bears some resemblance to Gamevice’s Wikipad

You can read the full text of the lawsuit here. Gamevice has accused Nintendo of violating a patent for concepts they used in Wikipad, reports Engadget. The Nintendo Switch design and layout resembles Wikipad. Nintendo’s Joy-Con controllers also appear similar to Gamevice’s peripherals that users can attach to an Android/iOS smartphone or tablet to play games.

Gamevice Wikipad
Wikipad. Image Credit: Wikipad.com (screenshot)

The lawsuit accuses that the Nintendo Switch and its Joy-Con controllers resemble Gamevice’s vision for a combination of a device with “flexible bridge section” and detachable controllers. Gamevice demands damages as well as an outright ban on the Switch sales. If the Switch gets banned, it will leave millions of fans disappointed. Nintendo will lose hundreds of millions of dollars in profits because, unlike Wii U, the Switch has been a real success worldwide.

According to Engadget, Gamevice started working on Wikipad with grand ambitions in 2012. It promised exciting features such as game streaming and glasses-free 3D experience. However, things didn’t go as planned. So, Gamevice eventually decided to drop Wikipad and go ahead with add-on peripherals for smartphones and tablets. It filed the lawsuit on August 9th.

Where is Gamevice’s lawsuit headed?

The lawsuit is unlikely to go anywhere. Nintendo Switch has some similarity with Wikipad, but there are many differences as well. First, Nintendo’s Joy-Con controllers slide into place, and can be used separately. In contrast, the Wikipad controllers clip on. Also, Nintendo has been working on its similar controllers for years. There was an early concept of Wii U back in 2012 that had similar controllers.

Nintendo Switch might have taken a bit longer to launch, but the Japanese company shouldn’t face a ban on its product. The Nintendo Switch design may resemble that of Wikipad, but it’s more than just a gaming tablet. The Switch is a hybrid console that allows users to play on the go or attach it to a television for the living room gaming experience.

It’s the console’s hybrid design coupled with an impressive lineup of first-party titles that helped Switch become a massive success. Nintendo’s first-party titles such as the Legend of Zelda and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe have helped boost Switch sales.

In the worst case scenario, Nintendo may have to settle the case or license the patent in question. In the past, the Japanese company had been sued over Nintendo 3DS. Tomita Technologies had accused Nintendo of infringing on its 3D camera technology that lets users see in 3D without having to use 3D glasses. Nintendo lost the battle in 2013, and was required to pay Tomita $30.2 million in damages.

Nintendo Switch sales remain strong

The console has been around for less than six months, and has sold nearly five million units. Nintendo reported during its latest quarterly earnings call that it had sold 4.7 million Switch units by the end of June. It is still difficult to find in stores. Experts believe that the supply shortage will continue through the end of this year despite the company’s attempts to ramp up production.

Nintendo has doubled its annual production target from 10 million to 20 million units to prepare for the holiday shopping season. The Switch is on track to beat the Wii U’s lifetime sales of 13.5 million units in less than a year. Industry experts believe it will be one of the most popular holiday gifts. Michael Pachter predicts that the Nintendo Switch will be able to outsell Microsoft’s Xbox One consoles this year.

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