An Ohio company is suing Nintendo and a handful of other game developers for allegedly infringing a patent covering exercise simulator games, according to a complaint filed Friday.
The plaintiff in the case, Impulse Technology, is closely tied to a fitness company called Trazer Technologies. The companies have the same Bay Village address and apparently share a phone number as well.
A woman who answered a phone call Monday morning to a number listed for Impulse identified herself to The Patent Examiner as a Trazer Technologies employee. She also said there was no one that would comment for the story.
“There’s no one here right now who you can talk to,” the woman said.
Who should I ask to speak to when I call back?
“No one here will talk to you.” *Click*
Impulse is claiming that Nintendo, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, THQ, Konami, Majesco and Namco Bandai are infringing its patented “interactive system for measuring physiological exertion” with virtual exercise games like Wii Fit Plus, EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis, and Konami’s Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party 3. It’s “the combination” of the Wii system – with its hand-held remote and balancing board controllers – and the games that constitute infringement, according to the complaint.
The patent, No. 5,524,637 was filed in 1994 and issued in 1996 to Jon Erickson of Palo Alto, Calif. It was transferred to Trazer, then called Arena Inc, in 2000.
Impulse filed suit against Microsoft, Sega and some of the gaming companies noted above in July, claiming they were infringing similar movement-tracking patents.
Impulse describes its patents as covering “certain exercise games where the motion of the player is tracked to effect movement of a virtual avatar, and the exertion of the user is monitored,” the complaint reads. Trazer’s website shows people in gym clothes tethered by bungees performing exercise routines in front of television screens on which an avatar is mimicking the person’s movements.
For the past five years, either Trazer or Impulse has been sending letters to each of the game developers notifying them of the alleged infringement, according to the complaint. It’s unclear whether any of the companies responded.
Read the full complaints [PDFs] listed above: