US trade commission probing Nintendo Switch patent complaint

Shares in Nintendo fell Thursday after the US international trade commission said it was investigating alleged patent infringement involving the Japanese firm’s hugely popular Switch game console.

Nintendo shares were down nearly two percent in early Tokyo trade, even as the broader market was up.

The US International Trade Commission (USITC) said in a statement it had voted to begin an investigation of “certain portable gaming console systems with attachable handheld controllers and components” covering Nintendo in Japan and the United States.

It said the investigation was based on a complaint filed on March 27 by California-based Gamevice, which alleges Nintendo products infringe its patent.

A Nintendo spokesman, contacted by AFP, said the firm had “no particular comment” on the investigation, but confirmed that it referred to the firm’s Switch devices. The USITC statement did not specifically name the consoles.

Demand for Switch consoles — already a runaway success for the Japanese firm — has soared during global lockdowns over the coronavirus, leading to shortages.

The USITC said it has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case, adding that it would make a final determination in the investigation “at the earliest practicable time”.

It will set a target date for completing its inquiries within 45 days of beginning the investigation, it added. (AFP)