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U.S. Investigating Nintendo for Alleged Switch Patent Infringement

Nintendo is under investigation by the U.S. International Trade Commission for possible patent infringement, the federal agency said on Tuesday.

Mobile gaming accessory maker Gamevice claims Nintendo’s new Switch console infringes on its patents for attachable handheld controllers. The Gamevice connects to an iOS or Android device and allows gamers to play on their smartphones or tablets using traditional analog joysticks and buttons instead of a touchscreen. While it was designed for a variety of devices, the Switch’s Joy-Con controllers were made to work exclusively with the hybrid console.

“The products at issue in the investigation are controller systems with parts that attach to two sides of an electronic device, such as a smartphone or tablet, and the parts fit into a user’s hands and have gaming controls,” the USITC said.

This is not the first time Gamevice has sued Nintendo over the Switch. It filed a lawsuit last August, but decided to drop the case voluntarily. Gamevice now believes Nintendo violated the Tariff Act of 1930 by importing and selling the Switch, and it’s now asking the USITC to issue cease and desist orders, which could stop shipments of the console to the U.S.

Now that an investigation is underway, the USITC said it will decide if Gamevice’s case has merit “at the earliest practicable time.” The case will be assigned to an administrative law judge, who will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing. The USITC plans to complete the investigation within 45 days.

Variety reached out to both Nintendo and Gamevice for comment on the investigation.

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