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Nintendo sued by exergaming company IA Labs


Was it something we said? No sooner does Nintendo close the book on the two-year-old Anascape suit than does the prolific peripheral manufacturer get slapped with another legal challenge. Gamasutra has obtained documentation of a lawsuit filed against Nintendo, on April 2, by exergaming company InterAction Laboratories, a.k.a. IA Labs, a.k.a. Powergrid Fitness, for alleged patent infringement.

In typical dramatic legalese, the suit cries out that IA Labs has been "irreparably harmed" by Nintendo's violation of two of its patents through a long list of Wii products. Here goes: the Wii system itself and its primary controllers, the Wiimote and the Nunchuk, and the MotionPlus add-on; Wii Fit, its expansion pack, Wii Fit Plus, and its peripheral, the Balance Board; and the Wii Zapper. Phew! Are we forgetting anything?

Oh, yes -- the Wii Wheel. Uh-huh, that circular piece of plastic is allegedly infringing upon a patent for either (1) "Computer interactive isometric exercise system and method for operatively interconnecting the exercise system to a computer system for use as a peripheral" or (2) "Force measurement system for an isometric exercise device." IA Labs claims that these two patents are used in a number of its products, including the Kilowatt Sport and Exer-Station controller. Both have won an award at separate CES events.

If you're real up on your Wii peripheral pitches, you will recall the Sqweeze, a ThighMaster-esque device for your hands, developed by IA Labs and introduced in late 2008. While a PC version appears to be available, the Wii iteration never made it to market, perhaps evidence that the relationship between IA Labs and Nintendo soured long ago. Documentation from the recent suit reveals emails from 2007–2008 between the two companies, which had once been in talks for IA Labs to license its technology to Nintendo.

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