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Philips is suing Nintendo for infringing patent number 8537231, in relation to the Wii and Wii U. The patent was filed in 2009, 3 or 4 years after the release of the Wii, although the priority date was in 2002, it wasn't filed until the date stated above.

How can Philips get away with this?

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2 Answers 2

The priority date is the date when the first application describing the same invention was originally filed by the same applicant. Thus it is documented that the applicant had already made the invention by the priority date. The fact that the later application leading to a granted patent was made at a later point of time is rather bureaucratic in nature and has nothing to do with the question when the invention was made. So no "getting away" with anyting. This is how patents work in general, btw.

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The priority date counts. On that day Philips filed something in the European Patent Office. As long as the material that application covered is essentially the same as that of 8537231 it is just as if the specific application that turned into 8537231 was filed in 2002. A quick search did not turn up the 2002 document but PCT application WO 200404701 does have a 2003 filing date.

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