A company called Tomita Technology has taken video game hardware developer and publisher Nintendo to court over an alleged patent breach that is linked to the glass-free three-dimensional screen that is used on the new Ninendo 3DS handheld.
Tomita Technology has said that it has a patent for “Stereoscopic Image Picking Up and Display System Based Upon Optical Axes Cross-Point Information” registered at the United States Patent Office under the number 7,417,664.
The description says that the patent is linked to “technology relating to displaying stereoscopic images on-screen for viewing with the naked eye, i.e., without utilizing glasses or other devices.”
Tomita first filled the documentation needed for the patent in 2003 and received it in 2008.
The official announcement for the Nintendo 3DS
handheld was made during the first months of 2010, under pressure from the media reports about the still unnamed device from Nintendo, and the official launch in Japan happened during February of this year, with North America and Europe getting the device during March.
Tomita has 70 other granted patents and is waiting to get approval for another 100, suggesting that the company is actively working to develop technology and is not just aiming to get a share of the money Nintendo has been making from the launch of the Nintendo 3DS.
The company is based both in Japan and in the United States and a number of reports suggest that it was founded by a former employee for Nintendo rival Sony.
The Nintendo 3DS performed very well during its first weeks on sale, managing to do better than the previous versions of Nintendo made handhelds, but since then the device has not managed to keep up its sales numbers.
In Japan, it is routinely outperformed by the older PlayStation Portable from Sony
and a dip has also been noticeable in the NPD Group figures for the United States.