Nintendo is suing White Cat Project developer Colopl for about 4.98 billion yen (roughly $47 million) over 5 different patent infringements.
In 2018, Nintendo began a lawsuit against White Cat Project developer Colopl following a complaint of patent infringement. The suit has been ongoing for quite a while, with Nintendo claiming Colopl copied a patented control scheme. The developer has since changed some of its control schemes but still refuses to admit to any wrongdoing.
Nintendo is known for taking many people and companies to task in court. The popular Japanese publisher/developer recently won a lawsuit after a go-kart company was found dressing customers up in Nintendo character costumes to create a real-life Mario Kart. The company won $480,000 in damages in that suit. The beloved company is very protective over its image and characters, so it’s no surprise that Nintendo is so adamant about taking people to court when it sees the opportunity. That said, this new suit may be taking things to another level.
Nintendo’s current suit against Colopl has upped the damages sought from 4.4 billion yen to 4.95 billion yen (roughly $47 million) due to accumulated fees over the last few years (via Siliconera and Famitsu). Nintendo is currently suing the mobile game developer over five patent infringements, including a touch control scheme that Nintendo has patented. Colopl has been on record stating it is “confident that our game does not infringe upon Nintendo’s patent rights” and that the company would stand by the “legitimacy of that view“. Colopl reportedly notably infringed on “the special technology used to operate a joystick over a touch panel” that Nintendo has patented. Ironically, Nintendo has also found itself in deep legal waters regarding analog sticks as well.
The issues began in 2016 when Nintendo issued complaints but Colopl made efforts to explain to Nintendo how it wasn’t copying. Apparently, this didn’t go over well with Nintendo as a lawsuit began shortly after. Whether or not a court will actually take Nintendo’s side or not remains to be seen but given that the suit has taken this long, it seems like it may be hard to actually pinpoint whether there was truly patent infringement.
Given that Nintendo is one of the biggest companies in the world, there are surely a lot of talented lawyers who can help Nintendo win any kind of lawsuit with some sort of legal grounds. It’s likely the suit will continue to go on for a while, but given Colopl isn’t willing to renounce its beliefs that it didn’t infringe on the patent, it seems unlikely that any middle ground will be found in an out of court settlement with Nintendo.