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Nintendo Can Sue Over Unauthorized Sales

March 15, 1990|From Associated Press

REDMOND, Wash. — A court has ruled video giant Nintendo can sue retailers who buy patent-protected video games from its competitors.

The decision by U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington nullified a California court ruling that prohibited suits against retailers who sell products that companies say infringe on their patents. The California injunction stems from a lawsuit filed in December, 1988, by arcade-game developer Atari Games-Tengen Inc., which charged Nintendo with monopolistic practices through its licensing agreements. Atari Games also claims that Nintendo has infringed on an Atari patent.

Nintendo has consistently maintained that the manufacture and sale of unlicensed video game cartridges by Atari for use with Nintendo Entertainment Systems violated a number of Nintendo's rights.

The court of Appeals said in its decision that Atari Games was unable to present evidence to "prove that Nintendo was . . . expanding its patent rights beyond their proper scope."

Dennis Wood, senior vice president of Atari Games, said in a statement that his company had hoped not to involve third parties in the battle. He said the company would pursue the matter further in District Court.

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