Were you aware that every single major console maker operating right now is a dirty, criminal enterprise? It's true, if you believe a suit by Fenner Investments (PDF link) which claims that Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are all violating its patent for "a low-voltage joystick port interface," specifically one that converts an analog joystick input into machine-readable digital form.

Never mind that the patent was filed in 1998, years after both Sony and Nintendo had introduced analog joysticks into their PlayStation and Nintendo 64 controllers (and filed patents for the same). Never mind that Microsoft had patented an interface for Windows-based analog controllers in 1997. Never mind that the idea of an analog joystick on a video game console goes at least as far back as the German VC4000 from 1978.

None of this matters. Clearly all the major console manufacturers are willfully infringing on the long-held patents of this relatively unknown company. We predict a court decision for hundreds of millions of dollars in damages to be awarded to Fenner any day now. We're holding our breath even as we write this.

[Thanks pandlcg]

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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