Way back in 2007 an "investment firm" that so happened to hold some patents filed a suit claiming Microsoft and Nintendo infringed them. The suit wends its way to the courtroom on St. Patrick's Day.
Fenner Investments Ltd. says controllers for the Gamecube, Wii, Xbox and Xbox 360 infringe the "low-voltage joystick port interface" patent it was awarded Oct. 2, 2001. Previous coverage excerpted the highly technical claim made by Fenner which, in short, meant that things such as pressing buttons and moving joysticks infringed upon their super exclusive technology. Sony was originally named in the lawsuit, but appears to have been let off the hook.
Nintendo is no stranger to this sort of lawsuit. There's another one, curiously, also filed in Tyler, Texas, that alleges the Wiimote infringes someone else's motion control technology. But Nintendo also has lost another case, owing $21 million to a Texas firm, Anascape Ltd. after a court found the Wavebird, Gamecube and Classic controllers infringed on their IP.
So while both Nintendo and Microsoft have filed counterclaims asking for declaratory judgments of non-infringement and invalidity (in other words, getting a judge to say this is b.s.), this may not be such a quick and simple process.
Patent Lawsuit Against Nintendo, Microsoft To Begin In Tyler [Tyler Morning Telegraph]