Haptics technology company Immersion Corporation is suing Valve for allegedly infringing on several of its patents. In its lawsuit that was filed in the Washington district court, Immersion claims that the touchscreen technology used in the Steam Deck and Valve Index breached seven of its patents related to tactile sensations, vibrotactile feedback, and more.
“While we are pleased to see that Valve recognizes the value of haptics and has adopted our haptic technology in its handheld video game and AR/VR systems as part of its effort to generate revenue streams through the sales of hardware, games, and other virtual assets, and advertisements, it is important for us to protect our business against infringement of our intellectual property to preserve the investments that we have made in our technology,” said Immersion CEO Eric Singer (via PC Gamer).
Immersion is looking to protect its patents from further infringement, and more importantly, “recover a reasonable royalty ” for Valve’s alleged transgressions. As PC Gamer noted, Immersion has a litigious history that took off in the 2000s, as the company claims to own over 1,650 patents related to haptics and has taken Apple, Microsoft, Sony, and Facebook parent company Meta to court.
Immersion has even won several of these cases, as Microsoft settled out of court and bought 10% of the company in the early 2000s, while Sony lost its suit and was ordered to pay $82 million in damages. Singer was appointed to the role of CEO and chairman of Immersion in January, and in a statement, he mentioned delivering “shareholder value” and the company’s “targeted litigation strategy” that has seen it take on Meta recently.
In that suit, Immersion claims that Meta’s AR and VR technology, including the Meta Quest 2, infringes on six of Immersion’s patents that cover various uses of haptic effects in connection to those technologies.
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