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Author Topic: Would this be patent infringement / IP violation?  (Read 3621 times)
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I'm designing a project, and hope to sell the device made from it eventually, but as part of the design, I'm using a part from an existent commercial product out there (which itself is patented).

Specifically, I'm designing a motion tracking system for sports analysis, and as part of it, I'd like to use the IR camera part from the Wii remote. The IR camera is just one part of the Wii Remote, but unfortunately for me, it's not independently sold.

My plan is, for each system, I'd be using 5 cameras, so I'd buy 5 Wii remotes, break them apart and extract just the camera out of each of them.

Does anyone know whether this kind of thing (using a part from an existent product within your own product design) would fall under patent infringement or IP violation?

I don't want to do anything that might fall even within a grey area, so I wanted to just get general comments on this from anyone who may have any idea/experience with these kinds of things (no perfect legal advice necessary!)
« Last Edit: November 07, 2012, 08:54:25 am by giantsfan3 » Logged

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Just a random thought, on the box of the remote, is there an agreement? There may be clause in the agreement saying you should not break apart the remote?
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Why don't you just look for a camera module that doesn't need the wii remote - why pay for 5 remotes when all you want is the camera? The patent is on the Wii remote, not the camera. If there was a patent on the camera, it would only apply to the camera as being used in the Wii remote, not to using the camera in general. A patent is not for a component, it is for the way those components function together. The camera may well have a patent, but that does not restrict you from using the camera, just from copying the design of the camera and selling them. Patented pieces are used in all kinds of products. It means you bought a component that someone else created and used it in something you designed. You BOUGHT a patented part. The patent holder got his piece of the price of that part and you are free to use it,( just not to copy it, until the patent expires)
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Dubuque, Iowa, USA
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Just a random thought, on the box of the remote, is there an agreement? There may be clause in the agreement saying you should not break apart the remote?
That doesn't have to be stated. "Surprising" the patent owner with new uses of the patent doesn't grant you any exception.

The patent you're describing is specific to distance/orientation measurement. Pulling apart a Wiimote or even building your own cameras that emulate the same process would still be a violation of the patent should Nintendo choose to pursue it.

Reading through that patent it seems they've described all of the basic techniques of optical distance/orientation tracking. Overall a pretty good example of a patent that should never have been granted.
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Once you start to research possible infringements and someone is able to find out about it (e.g. because you asked in a public forum) every violation might be considered willful infringement. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_infringement. The point is: willful infringement might lead to higher fines.

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I don't want to do anything that might fall even within a grey area

In this case you can forget it right from the start. The issue is not any wii patents but any motion tracking patents. Once you start to search for motion tracking patents you will find soon that you can not develop anything at all if you want to avoid anything even remotely "gray".

IMHO nobody would sue you unless you start making money. Patent trolling is a business so they will not troll until there is sufficient expected profit. Most probably you will be to small to be of any relevance. However if you should really make money then you should pay an attorney to take care of this.
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IMHO nobody would sue you unless you start making money. Patent trolling is a business so they will not troll until there is sufficient expected profit. Most probably you will be to small to be of any relevance. However if you should really make money then you should pay an attorney to take care of this.

I strongly agree with you. Sometimes it's attorney trying to get companies to sue others so they can get paid. There might be no apparent infringement. It's a dirty business. Nobody is in it to protect your rights as independent developers.
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