Gamevice, the company that's suing Nintendo, argues the Switch's Joy-Con controllers infringe on a patent Gamevice currently holds for its own detachable game controllers — also called Gamevice. The patent "Combination Computing Device and Game Controller with Flexible Bridge Section" was granted to Gamevice on Sept. 8, 2015. Nintendo came out with the Switch more than a year later.
Both gadgets are game controllers that connect and attach to computing devices. For the Gamevice, that's most tablets and smartphones; and for the Joy-Con controllers, that's the dedicated Switch console. Beyond those similarities, both the Gamevice and the Joy-Con controllers feature structural bridges that connect the two ends to each other.
It's worth noting that Nintendo's devices can work as individual controllers, while Gamevice's can't. It's also worth repeating that because the Switch functions as its own console, it doesn't really compete with Gamevice's focus on the smartphone gaming market.
Despite those major differences, Gamevice is accusing Nintendo of not only violating the company's patent but doing so willfully and damaging the company as a result. Gamevice is demanding compensation, as well as a permanent stop to the production, distribution and sales of the Switch.
That's a pretty heavy request considering the commercial success of Nintendo's new console.
Meanwhile, back in May, Gamevice raised $12.5 million in investments for its smartphone controllers, which were sold in almost 500 Apple stores around the world.
And if Gamevice is really looking to enforce its patents, the company might be safer starting with all the other similar-looking smartphone game controllers that are for sale online.