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Nintendo faces Switch patent infringement investigation in the US

The firm has filed another claim with the US International Trade Commission (ITC), which has now agreed to look further into the matter.

The Nintendo Switch has been out for over a year and it has been quite the success story for the Japanese gaming giant, thanks to high-profile games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, but also because of its hybrid nature made possible by the dock and the detachable Joy-Con controllers.

According to Reuters (thanks, Nintendo Life), Gamevice filed a complaint alleging Switch importation "infringed on its patents". Game Vice originally sued Nintendo a year ago, but dropped the case and instead went to the USITC, who has formally launched an investigation. There are some key differences between the Gamevice controller and Nintendo's Joy-Con, but when it comes to patent cases, it can often be hard to tell which way its going to go. If passed, ITC can keep Nintendo from importing Nintendo Switch consoles in the U.S.

The USITC notes that an investigation doesn't mean that the complaint has any merit or validity. The Gamevice connects to an iOS or Android device and allows gamers to play on their smartphones or tablets using traditional analog joysticks and buttons instead of a touchscreen.

So, don't be surprised if a settlement announcement is made at some point between Gamevice and Nintendo over this patent dispute, especially if the US International Trade Commission makes a decision that hurts Nintendo. The USITC's Chief Administrative Law Judge will assign the case to one of the USITC's administrative law judges (ALJ), who will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing.

Remember Gamevice? The company that created a set of detachable controllers for the iPhone and subsequently launched a patent case against Nintendo and Switch? The complainant requests that the USITC issue a limited exclusion order and cease and desist orders.

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