Last Tuesday, Valve went to court to defend itself against Ironburg Inventions, which holds the intellectual property rights of custom controller manufacturer SCUF.
Ironburg accused Valve of stealing their invention for rear control surfaces used on their controllers. These are also used on the Xbox Elite Series 2 controller, for which Microsoft has obtained a license.
Valve denied the allegation and does not plead guilty of violating a patent. The process lasted a week and yesterday the eight-member jury announced its verdict. Valve was found guilty of patent infringement and sentenced to pay € 3.3 million.
“Valve’s willful disregard for patent infringement is at the heart of this case,” argued Ironburg attorney Manatt Phelps. “Valve knew that this behavior posed an unreasonable risk of injury, but still carried on.”
Valve countered by sending each of the jurors their own steam controller and asking them to recognize the similarities in design, believing the differences between the buttons on the steam controller and those on SCUF’s controllers were too great to condemn . Valve was wrong and now has to pay.
Apart from that, 3.3 million euros can actually be found at the lower end of the compensation scale. Ironburg had originally requested 9.1 million euros in damages, but the judge reduced the claim to 5 million euros to better match the price of Microsoft’s license agreement for the Elite Series 2. When the jury unanimously decided in favor of Ironburg, this number was reduced to 3.3 million euros.
However, the ruling could complicate Valve’s plans to launch the Steam Controller 2. The patent infringement conviction means that Valve cannot willfully infringe the patent again without paying much higher damages, so a new version of the Steam Controller is unlikely to have any rear buttons at all.
Brent Dubin, known as the Gaming Giant among Globe Live Media staff, is the chief Gaming Reporter for Globe Live Media. Having attended all the major events of Gaming around the World, he is sure to give you exactly the update related to gaming World you are looking for.