Nintendo IP suit shows value of intellectual property insurance

Generic placeholder image
Justin Kozak

VP of Sales

Who doesn’t love video games? Okay, they might not be everybody’s thing but it’s also hard not to be impressed by how powerful the technology is inside gaming systems your little cousin uses after school.

Well, according to one 2013 suit, Nintendo stole one of the pieces of this technology from somebody else. But the party that alleged Nintendo did this wasn’t another gaming company. It was a company called iLife that sells products designed to save babies’ lives.

So, how did iLife get to a point where they wanted to sue a company that has nothing to do with the space they’re in? Not because of the product but because of the idea, or the intellectual property.

iLife sued Nintendo for allegedly stealing their motion-sensing accelerometer technology which they claimed was used in the creation of the Wii Remote. iLife held rights to this technology through this patent (along with 5 others) and sought $144M in damages, $4 for each of the 36 million Wii gaming system sold.

Ultimately, the jury settled on a $10M award for iLife, which was recently upheld on appeal.

Why is this important?

Nintendo is a behemoth in the technology and gaming space. It’s safe to say they have unlimited resources to fight this type of lawsuit. Although unsuccessful in their appeal, they got off with a $10M price tag as opposed to $144M – not too shabby.

But what if this happens to you? With growth comes notoriety and a bigger target. Being self-aware is easy but, as seen in Nintendo’s case, a lawsuit can come from anywhere. Even from a health tech company who helps save infants while you are creating games for their older brothers and sisters to become obsessed with.

You need to be well equipped to have the same success Nintendo did in avoiding the big hit in damages.

How intellectual property insurance can help

Intellectual property insurance has become a standard product for companies in innovative spaces. (By the way, an intellectual property lawsuit is about 22 times more likely than one coming from an investor.)

Intellectual property insurance can provide coverage that will defend you, pay damages and even pay settlement fees to avoid long and costly suits. But it doesn’t end there. Having a partner in the insurance market offers something even more valuable: experience and expertise.

You are not Nintendo, and although we firmly believe you will be one day, it is no secret that litigation is expensive. You need the right people with the right experience in your corner.

An intellectual property insurance policy will give you access to a team of incredible patent attorneys who know how to make these lawsuits go away and how to minimize the damage if whichever jabroni suing you actually has a leg to stand on.

At the end of the day

Nintendo was sued by someone they didn’t see coming but was able to pay a fraction of the ask because they could bring in the right team to fight it.

We work with an incredible amount of innovative and creative companies who we are proud to watch grow. Just like our clients want to protect their company from lawsuits coming from customers or investors, protecting the idea that made the company possible in the first place has become a priority

By working with a broker who can help you find the right intellectual property insurance policy, you are also putting yourself in the same position Nintendo was in – when that jabroni we mentioned knocks on the door, you’ll be answering it with a team of experts ready to get to work.

Want to know more?

You can contact us at or create an account here in order to get a quote for intellectual property insurance and patent insurance.

Want to read more on the subject?  Check out our other blog posts on intellectual property insurance.

Related Articles

ip insurance
June 2 • Intellectual Property

How COVID-19 Impacts IP Insurance Risks

COVID-19 is shaking up the economy — but how does this impact IP insurance risks? Here’s a closer look for small and mid-market business owners.

IP insurance for startups
January 25 • Intellectual Property

The 3 most important facts about IP insurance for startups

Too many companies ignore one of the most common legal risks out there: intellectual property (IP) infringement. In past posts, we’ve talked about the high frequency of IP litigation as well as the dangers posed by patent trolls. But let’s keep it simple — what do you need to know? There are a few important

Copyright 2017 Home Box Office, Inc.
December 14 • Case StudiesCyber Liability

3 cyber insurance lessons from the HBO data breach

Copyright 2017 Home Box Office, Inc.   Winter is com…wait, nope, those are lawyers. Lawyers are coming. Fresh off the heels of the personally identifiable information (PII) of every registered voter in the United States being stolen, another American institution is on the defense. OK so maybe it’s not an “institution” per se. HBO was the

September 13 • Case StudiesDirectors & OfficersErrors & OmissionsGeneral Liability

Pivoting? You should probably call your insurance broker

It’s been a tough year for retail. Just ask J.C. Penny, Macy’s or Target. As e-commerce continues to overtake retail (thanks Amazon), traditional retailers need to employ different strategies to satisfy customers. In other words, it’s time to start pivoting. Startups are all too familiar with pivoting, and many startups do so at least once. Sounds

Insurance for Fintech companies
March 9 • Directors & OfficersIntellectual Property

Key fintech insurance polices you need to know about

Rest easy…your fintech insurance answers live here It is not a secret that the fintech industry has experienced significant growth over the course of the last 5 years. $9.4 billion dollars was invested in fintech companies in Q2 of 2016 alone. Whether it is the sheer size of investments, growth in revenues, or other KPI’s,

July 22 • Intellectual PropertyRisk Management Tips

Patent and IP Insurance: Protect Your Ideas

  So what exactly is the value of an idea? These days it can make or break your business.   There has been a 71% increase in patent lawsuits over the last 6 years. There was a mind-blowing number – 2,754 to be exact – of patent infringement lawsuits filed in 2015; for which the