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That Valve’s Steam Controller Infringes A Patent Held By A Gaming Hardware Company, Upheld By Judge

A Washington judge dismissed a motion for retrial yesterday following the protracted legal battle over the discontinued Steam Controller, ordering Valve to pay $3 million in fees. Late Tuesday, a Superior Court in the US state of Washington ruled that a group of plaintiffs was not entitled to an injunction against Valve Corporation over the discontinued Steam Controller. After years of legal wrangling with peripheral manufacturer SCUF Gaming, Valve is finally ready to accept the company’s line of customizable gaming controllers.

Valve has recently announced that it will be ending its legal proceedings against peripheral manufacturer SCUF Gaming. The suit, which began in 2017 and saw Valve filing two separate lawsuits against SCUF, alleged that the company had infringed on Valve’s copyrights and trademarks through the use of custom artwork on several of their console controllers designs.

When SCUF noticed similarities between its game controller and the Steam Controller, it took action. The company filed a lawsuit against Valve Corporation alleging patent infringement. A US federal district decided the patent covering controllers with underside buttons was invalid. A small injunction placed on this design seems like little more than a footnote in the story of this patent issued over 10 years ago.

At trial, however, Valve explained the patents at issue really only cover handles of a certain shape. Valve presented evidence showing gaming platforms that allegedly infringe the patent contain shapes other than just an elongated, protruding rectangle. Valve appealed, making the case that other gamepads with thumb-sticks that protrude from a flat face are still wide enough to infringe on two of the three design patents.

In a new filing in its ongoing patent infringement case, Valve says it’s “a bold new chapter” in the long-running patent battle between it and Microsoft. Valve lawyers have asked the judge to rule that the evidence and images SCUF has presented are misleading. The devices that SCUF has shown are not similar at all, they argued in court documents.

The jury awarded SCUF Gaming $4 million in a copyright infringement trial against Activision Blizzard in February after SCUF claimed that the use of the callouts and other product designs was inappropriate. Dota 2 developer, Valve, has been granted a retrial in their ongoing lawsuit against SCUF Gaming controllers. Valve demanded that the SCUF case be officially tossed out because the company failed to present sufficient evidence during a trial.

As the lawyers for SCUF Gaming failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Valve made false statements regarding the quality of their products, Dota 2 will remain on ESL One. Valve is facing hundreds of millions of dollars in damages after a jury ruled that the company knowingly infringed on two of SCUF’s patents while designing its Steam controller.

Many video game experts commented that Valve’s attempt to move into the console business was doomed to fail. Valves own console, called the Steam Box, never came out. The Steam Controller was Valve’s first attempt to create a controller for their Steam gaming platform. The gamepad used both of the user’s hands and multiple buttons to simulate a desktop computer gamepad but did not work well for controlling most games intended for console-like controls.

About the author

Daksh Bhatia

Daksh Bhatia is a first year Computer Science and Engineering student at Manipal Jaipur.
He writes pieces on Technology, Gaming, Movies and Politics.

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