Sunday, January 16, 2005

The Nintendo patent Scandal

Well, a big mean company has done it again. Nintendo has been granted a patent for something they did not invent, are not selling, and should not have.

As you may have heard, Nintendo was recently granted a patent for console emulation on handheld devices. The full patent info can be found here. In fact, companies were developing commercial software to do this over a year ahead of time, which makes the patent invalid. This, however, does not stop Nintendo from using their illegal patent to pressure companies that make such software.

The following is an email from GambitStudios, one of the companies which makes emulation software for the Palm OS platform.


We have actually been working with an IP attorney and responding to the letters of Nintendo’s lawyers for the past year or so. Unfortunately, it is a slow and expensive process.

As far as fighting the patent itself goes, this can become VERY expensive. Our attorney has helped other companies fight patents, and it can take hundreds of thousands of dollars. Yes, we were selling Liberty before they filed for the patent. Unfortunately, a company actually has a one-year grace period on a patent, which means Liberty must have been publicly available for more than one year before the date of Nintendo’s filing. We did release an early beta of Liberty to selected people over a year earlier than Nintendo’s filing, which should help our case. We will see.

When Crimson Fire first received their warning from Nintendo, we contacted Kyle Poole and offered to work together to fight it. He felt that they shouldn’t have to worry though, since they were in Canada. Other emulators have moved their sites overseas to make it harder for Nintendo to shut them down. It’s cheaper than fighting.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation ( is looking to fight this patent. But they need funds to do so.

Thank you for your support!
Mike Ethetton


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