Nintendo Escapes $254-Million Jury Verdict

(Bloomberg News)

Japan's Nintendo Co. won't have to pay a $254-million jury verdict in a patent dispute after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Alpex Computer Corp. Alpex charged that Nintendo infringed its patent for technology used to control figures on video games played on television sets. The justices' action ends an 11-year legal battle by the bankrupt Alpex to reap a share of Nintendo's video game success. Alpex, which won a verdict against Nintendo, only to see an appeals court overturn it, wanted the Supreme Court to order the lower court to reconsider the case in light of the justices' recent opinion clarifying rules governing inventions that are similar to one another. The dispute involved "bit mapping," a technology patented by Alpex in 1977. Alpex, a Connecticut company, filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Court protection in 1983.

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