Nintendo accused of copying Switch design in lawsuit filed by mobile accessory maker

Gamevice sues Nintendo for allegedly infringing on patents for Wikipad tablet controllers.

Nintendo Switch review: Play anywhere with Nintendo's innovative home and handheld consoleIBTimes UK

Nintendo is facing a lawsuit from an accessory maker which claims the Japanese giant violated patents when designing and creating its Switch console.

Gamevice alleges that the Nintendo Switch's modular Joy-Cons infringe on patents it holds for the Wikipad, an Android-powered gaming tablet that launched in 2013, and the company's gamepads for Apple and Samsung devices that it claims provide "true gaming controls for use with a smartphone or tablet."

In the legal filing submitted to the Central District Court of California, the Delaware-based peripheral maker argues that the detachable Joy-Con controllers communicate and attach to its home-handheld console in a way that directly infringes upon its patent for a "Combination Computing Device and Game Controller with Flexible Bridge Section" that was granted in 2015.

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As part of the lawsuit (first spotted by Engadget), Gamevice is asking the court to stop Nintendo "making, using, selling, and offering for sale the Nintendo Switch."

It asserts that this will ensure that further infringement does not occur, as well as awarding Gamevice with an unspecified sum for damages, and its attorney fees, expenses, and other costs. Neither Gamevice or Nintendo have yet commented on the lawsuit.

On the surface the two designs do share some similarities - a point Gamevice has taken great pains to point out by breaking apart a Switch console and providing photos of its structural layout in the court documents.

There are however no small number of ways the two differ. Most notably the Gamevice peripherals clip-on to a smartphone or tablet, while Nintendo's Joy-Cons attach to the Switch using a sliding mechanism. Nintendo's Joy-Cons also work as a pair of wireless controllers for co-operative play when detached from the Switch. Gamevice's pads on the other hand are reliant on both sides for full input control.

There's also the small matter of Switch's dock mechanism which turns the Switch into a home console you can play on a TV. Gamevice's Wikipad or its controllers do not offer this feature.

We'll keep an eye on the situation to see if either company issues a statement, but for now we're quite confident in saying it's unlikely that Nintendo's fantastic hybrid console will be pulled from sale any time soon.

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