Third-party hardware developer Wikipad Inc. (now known as Gamevice) are suing Nintendo over the detachable controller design of the Nintendo Switch as it supposedly infringes on their patent, with many suspecting the move to be pure opportunism as it took 5 months since the console’s launch for the lawsuit to emerge.
One of Gamevice’s patents (filed back in 2012) mentions “a pair of control modules attached to a separate and distinct computing device”, which served as the basis for the company’s “Wikipad” – an Android gaming tablet released back in 2013 (it received mixed reviews and is no longer available for purchase):
Another patent was used to create the “Gamevice controller”, a similar device with detachable controllers that can attach to smartphones and tablets:
Gamevice are seeking damages and have also demanded that Nintendo cease all sales of Nintendo Switches, stating that the Switch “has caused, and is continuing to cause, damage and irreparable injury to Gamevice” despite the fact that there are likely few who have even heard of the device.
The disgruntled developer claims that the Gamevice controller’s patent “A Combination Computing Device and Game Controller with Flexible Bridge Section” has been infringed by the Nintendo Switch, though many have been quick to point out that the Nintendo Switch’s controllers are not attached like the Gamevice and can be used independently from each other – thus possessing no “flexible bridge section”.
Gamevice however has claimed that the Switch itself is this “bridge section”, making the whole fiasco a tricky legal wrangle of the sort only a lawyer being billed by the hour could love – Nintendo have yet to respond to this incident.