Nintendo, which recently lost a $21 million patent case to Anascape, is currently litigating another federal patent lawsuit filed by an Illinois man.
In his complaint, John R. Martin alleges that he patented touch screen and pointing device gaming technology in August, 2005. The original Nintendo DS launched in November, 2004 in the United States. Martin's patent application describes his creation as:
An electronic game device system [which] is switchable between an amusement mode and a gaming or gambling mode and is useful for vehicles such as airplanes or boats which move geographically from jurisdictions where gambling is legal to jurisdictions where it is not...
An improved method of operating a touch screen on a CRT or ICD computer screen uses finger release as input registering... Mounting arrangements for mounting computer screens or monitors are also disclosed...
The drawing at left, from Martin's patent application, illustrates how he envisioned a user interacting with his device. While Martin does not specifically refer to the DS, the form of input he decribes seems to fit the DS as opposed to the Wii's motion-sensitive input.
In its response, Nintendo has denied infringing upon Martin's patent, of which it says it was notified in November, 2007.
Martin has a similar suit in the works against Apple, presumably over the iPod's touch-sensitive scroll wheel.
GamePolitics has a lodged a request with both Nintendo and the plaintiff's attorneys for additional information.