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Former Sony employee sues Nintendo over 3DS glasses-free 3D technology

What a headache.

A former Sony employee has sued Nintendo over its use of glasses-free 3D technology in the 3DS handheld console.

58-year-old inventor Seijiro Tomita patented a way of providing 3D images without the need for glasses and he's taken Nintendo to seek damages - a whopping $9.80 for every 3DS sold. As of the end of 2012, Nintendo had sold 29.84 million 3DS units. If Tomita gets what he wants, he's in for a cool $292 million. Good luck!

Reuters reported opening arguments from Monday's meeting in the US District Court in New York.

Tomita's attorney Joe Diamante said his client met with Nintendo in 2003 to discuss the patent and showed a prototype to seven Nintendo officials at the company's Kyoto headquarters while his patent application was pending. Four of the seven executives went on to develop the 3DS. "He actually felt betrayed and hurt that they were using his technology," Diamante said.

Nintendo's representative Scott Lindvall countered this by saying the 3DS doesn't use key aspects of Tomita's patent, and that the 2003 meeting was one of several Nintendo held with vendors selling 3D display tech. One of these, held a year earlier in 2002, was with Sharp, which eventually made the 3DS display.

Tomita, who holds 3D display patents in the US and in Japan, is in a wheelchair as he recovers from a stroke. He quit Sony in 2002 after 30 years of service to pursue inventions, but since the release of the 3DS has struggled to find someone to license his tech.

The case continues.

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