By Bernard Vaughan
NEW YORK, Feb 26 (Reuters) - A patent infringement trial
over 3-D display technology has pit an inventor against
videogaming giant Nintendo Co.
The patent relates to technology that inventor Seijiro
Tomita developed for providing 3-D images without the need for
In opening arguments on Monday, Tomita's attorney, Joe
Diamante of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, told a jury in U.S.
District Court in Manhattan that Nintendo used technology that
the inventor developed for its handheld 3DS videogame system.
Tomita is a former longtime Sony Corp employee.
But Scott Lindvall of Kaye Scholer, an attorney for the
Super Mario Bros franchise creator, said the 3DS doesn't use key
aspects of Tomita's patent.
Lindvall also said a 2003 meeting that Tomita cites in his
argument was merely one of several the company held with vendors
selling 3-D display technology.
Tomita sued Nintendo and its U.S. unit in 2011 for patent
infringement and is seeking damages.
His attorney cited an expert's damage estimate that Tomita
is entitled to about $9.80 for every 3DS sold. The 3DS, a
colorful cellphone-size product, costs $169.99 on the company's
The trial is before U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff.
Earlier this year, Nintendo, the world's leading gaming
company by machines sold, cut the sales outlook for the 3DS by
2.5 million machines to 15 million for its fiscal year ending in
Tomita displayed a prototype of his technology for seven
Nintendo officials at the company's Kyoto headquarters in 2003
as he was looking for licensee partners while his patent
application was pending, Diamante told jurors.
Four of those seven people would go on to help develop the
3DS, which Nintendo eventually launched in March 2011, he said.
"He actually felt betrayed and hurt that they were using his
technology," Diamante said.
But Lindvall noted that Nintendo constantly has meetings
with vendors. And prior to its meeting with Tomita, Nintendo had
already had four meetings with vendors shopping 3-D display
technology, including a 2002 meeting with Sharp Corp, which
eventually made the display for Nintendo's 3DS.
"Mr. Tomita's meeting was one of hundreds," Lindvall said.
Moreover, he said, the 3DS does not use a key aspect of
Tomita's patent called "cross-point" information, which helps
display 3-D images on different screens.
Tomita, 58, is a scientist and engineer who retired from
Sony in 2002 after almost 30 years to pursue inventions,
according to his lawsuit.
He is listed as an inventor or co-inventor of nearly 70
patents globally, according to the lawsuit.
Tomita received a patent for the 3-D display technology in
the United States in 2008, and he holds a corresponding patent
in Japan, according to the lawsuit. But since Nintendo launched
3DS, Tomita has had trouble finding a licensee partner for his
technology, Diamante told the jury.
Tomita was in a wheelchair on Monday, as he continues to
recover from a stroke, Diamante said.
The case is Tomita Technologies USA LLC and Tomita
Technologies International Inc v. Nintendo Co Ltd and Nintendo
of America Inc, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New
York, No. 11-4256.
For Tomita Technologies USA LLC and Tomita Technologies
International Inc: Joseph Diamante, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan.
For Nintendo Co Ltd and Nintendo of America Inc: Scott
Lindvall, Kaye Scholer.
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