The 3Ds might have had a slow start, but over the past year it's been selling incredibly well, with over 40 million units sold since it was released in early 2011. Now though, Nintendo may be wishing it hadn't done quite as well, since the courts have ruled in creating the handheld it infringed on a camera technology patent from Tomita Technologies International Ltd. and must now pay the firm 1.82 per cent of the wholesale price of every 3DS ever sold.
This might seem like a nasty turnaround, and it is since Nintendo is going to be paying almost £2 per 3DS sold, but it could have been worse. Tomita initially pushed for a flat rate fee for each 3Ds sold, though a judge ruled that since the hardware's price had (and would continue to) dropped, doing so would have been unfair.
“If, as Tomita suggests, the ongoing royalty rate were expressed as a flat dollar amount per unit sold, Tomita would capture an increasingly large proportion of each sale as the price falls, even as the technology's reliance on the infringed patent remains constant,” said the judge responsible for the case (via NeoGAF). “This would result in an unearned windfall for Tomita, and, accordingly, the court prefers an ongoing royalty rate expressed as a percentage of wholesale price.”
Nintendo will also be forced to pay another $241,321 in prejudgement interest and added damages. This is on top of the ongoing royalty payments that must be made to Tomita due to the patented technology used in the 3DS' construction.
KitGuru Says: This is going to net Tomita over £100 million throughout the lifetime of the 3DS. That's a really nice court ruling in its favour. This isn't going to break Nintendo of course, but it must put a dampener in sales numbers.