Fenner Investments versus the Big Three

Scrabbles over patents never fail to amuse me. Never put it past some thinky little troll to investigate every nook and cranny of the judicial system they possibly can. This time it’s Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo up on the chopping block, courtesy of one Fenner Investments, who claim the big three are infringing on the company’s patent  for a “low-voltage joystick port interface.”

Good night! First the Immersion drama, and now this. Unfortunately, Immersion had some decent ground to work with and Sony lost the case to them, perhaps contributing to the decision to eliminate the rumble feature from the PS3 controllers. Question is, has Sony learned a lesson, or will they fight this one to the end too? When it comes to the fine print, it’s hard to be sure where things will go. Also, is this one a truly legitimate claim or a slimy attempt at pawing money away from bigger players? The patent summary is as follows:

“The joystick port interface according the present invention is a low power port which interfaces a typical 5 Volt joystick peripheral device with a lower power computer port. The low-voltage joystick port interface includes a bidirectional buffer circuit and a pulse generator which, together, generate a digital pulse signal, representing a joystick coordinate position, based on an input analog measurement signal.”

What do you think? Valid or a bucket of crap? Tell me in the comments. 

Colette Bennett