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Hillcrest, Nintendo Mend Fences

Jeff Baumgartner

10:10 AM -- Hillcrest Labs and Nintendo of America Inc. have settled a spat centered on some motion-control technology central to Hillcrest's "in-air mouse" remote control, sometimes referred to as "The Loop."

Financial terms were reportedly blacked out of the settlement announcement released late last week, but the deal will allow Nintendo, which still denies it's infringing on Hillcrest's patents, to continue importing its popular Wii console to U.S. gamers.

Rockville, Md.-based Hillcrest went after Nintendo about a year ago, alleging that the gaming giant infringed on four patents linked to Hillcrest's "three-dimensional pointing device" and its complementary TV-based navigation system. (See Hillcrest Attacks the Wii.)

Hillcrest has had little luck penetrating the direct-to-MSO market so far -- most digital cable boxes in the field aren't powerful enough for the company's rich navigation system, and most U.S. MSOs tend to have other next-gen IPG projects underway. But it has made some progress with a retail strategy. Of recent note, ZillionTV Corp. is using the Hillcrest system to help differentiate its broadband video offering. (See Hillcrest's 'Loop' Remote Goes Retail and ZillionTV Goes Over-the-Top.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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