Hillcrest Labs said that it has taken legal action against Nintendo for patent infringement, and that it is seeking to block the import of the Nintendo Wii into the US.

Hillcrest Labs has filed a complaint for patent infringement with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in Washington, D.C., and has filed a separate patent infringement suit in the U.S. District Court in Maryland against Nintendo related to the Wii video game system, according to the company.

As for Nintendo’s response: "We have not been served with any lawsuit or other action by Hillcrest and therefore have no comment,” said Charlie Scibetta, spokesperson for Nintendo of America.

Hillcrest said that the patents at issue are U.S. Patent Nos. 7,158,118, 7,262,760 and 7,414,611, which relate to a handheld, three-dimensional (3D) pointing device, as well as U.S. Patent No. 7,139,983, which relates to a navigation interface display system that graphically organizes content for display on a television. 

Hillcrest has demonstrated its patented technology, which it calls Freespace, in a circular TV remote control (The Loop) at industry shows throughout the past few years.

The Freespace technology enables subscription TV service providers and consumer electronics manufacturers (CEMs) to embed advanced motion-control and pointing capabilities into a wide range of devices and form factors. Freespace-enabled pointing devices use digital signal processing algorithms that rely on gravity and other inertial inputs to determine their position in the air. The algorithms translate motion instantaneously and automatically adjust for natural hand tremors.

In late July, Comcast and Nintendo came together to offer new Comcast triple-play customers a complimentary Wii game system (story here).

Until Aug. 17, consumers that signed up for Comcast’s Preferred Plus or Premier Triple-Play packages received the free Wii system, which can be hooked up to Comcast’s high-speed Internet service for online access. To be eligible for a complimentary Wii system, a two-year contract was required.

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