Enlarge/ The Nintendo Co. Wii U Remote Plus controller, right, is displayed in a showroom in Tokyo, Japan.
Akio Kon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A jury has ruled that Nintendo must pay $10.1 million because its Wii and Wii U systems infringe a patent belonging to a Dallas medical motion-detection company.

iLife sued Nintendo (PDF) in 2013 after filing lawsuits against four other companies in 2012. The case went to a jury trial in Dallas, and yesterday the jury returned its verdict (PDF). They found that Nintendo infringed US Patent No. 6,864,796, first filed in 1999, which describes “systems and methods for evaluating movement of a body relative to an environment.”

The patent drawings show a body-mounted motion detector that could detect falls in the elderly, which is the market that iLife was targeting, according to its now defunct website.

The $10.1 million was less than 10 percent of what iLife’s attorneys had been asking for. When the trial began in Dallas on August 21, Law360 reported that iLife lawyers asked the jury for a $144 million payout. That damage demand was based on a royalty of $4 per Wii unit, multiplied by 36 million systems sold in the six years before the lawsuit was filed.

“iLife and its CEO Michael Lehrman are the original inventors of this technology, and the company does not enforce any patents that it did not develop,” Dunwoody said in a statement to the Dallas Observer back when the lawsuit was filed. “Unlike so-called patent trolls, iLife also has a history of developing and bringing to market products using their technology…The company spent many years researching and millions of dollars developing the environment-based motion detection technology at issue in this suit.”

It isn’t clear, though, what products iLife was actually able to sell, if any. Archived versions of the company’s webpages show that it marketed a fall detection device for the elderly. But the verdict form (PDF) states that one of the jury’s findings is that there weren’t any sales of the “Healthsensor 100” at all, from the time the patent issued in 2005 until the lawsuit was filed in December 2013.

iLife CEO and inventor Michael Lehrman declined to speak to Ars about the case since an appeal was possible, but he said he would discuss the matter with his attorneys.

The iLife website has been taken down, and Lehrman is now spearheading Sleep Methods Inc. The Sleep Methods website says the company has “developed a spectrum of patented technologies that will be commercialized across a suite of medical devices to promote better, more healthful sleep.”

Nintendo has said it will appeal the verdict, and the company points out that the patent that the Wii was found to infringe is related to accidental falls.

“Nintendo disagrees with the decision, as Nintendo does not infringe iLife’s patent and the patent is invalid,” the company told Glixel, Rolling Stone’s video game blog, in a statement. “Nintendo looks forward to raising those issues with the district court and with the court of appeals.”

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