Intellectual Property Law

COVID-19 causes Federal Circuit to cancel arguments in Nintendo case

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A Wii controller. Image from

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has canceled oral arguments in Nintendo’s case over its Wii gaming systems after its opposing counsel contracted COVID-19.

Los Angeles-based iLife Technologies Inc. asked the appellate court in an unopposed motion Dec. 28 to reschedule oral arguments planned for Wednesday since Michael Wilson of Munck Wilson & Mandala tested positive for COVID-19 a few days earlier. He planned the argue the appeal, but the company said his symptoms would keep him from adequately preparing.

The Federal Circuit responded Dec. 29, ruling in a per curiam decision that oral arguments would not be rescheduled, but the appeal would instead be submitted on the briefs.

Law360 reported on the decision.

In August 2017, a jury ruled in favor of iLife Technologies Inc., a maker of hardware and software, which accused Nintendo of infringing a patent covering motion-sensing technology with its Wii products.

But in January 2020, Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn of the Northern District of Texas found that the technology described by the patent was unpatentable under the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Alice v. CLS Bank. The 2014 decision found that abstract ideas implemented by computers were not eligible for patent protection.

Lynn also overturned the $10.1 million verdict against Nintendo.

iLife Technologies Inc. appealed the decision, arguing to the Federal Circuit in its opening brief in May 2020 that the patent’s technology is not abstract and improves motion sensors. According to Law360, the company said its patent uses a novel technique to differentiate between accelerative events, such as falling and lying down, to better assess movements.

Nintendo argues that the claim construction in iLife Technologies Inc.’s patent is overly broad, and that its Wii products use different technology, Law360 also reports.

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