Nintendo sues over intellectual property rights and settles case against Uberchips.
Nintendo has agreed to a $2 million settlement in its intellectual property lawsuit against Ton Dilts Jr., owner of the site UberChips, according to court documents. The company filed against UberChips in May of this year in an Ohio court, claiming the site “sold products from hacking group Team Xecuter that allowed customers to install and play pirated Switch games.”
“These products allow users to get around Nintendo’s technological protection measures designed to protect its products from unauthorized access and copying. Once it’s disabled, players can download the unauthorized operating system and play pirated video games,” Nintendo’s attorneys argued. Websites like Uberchips were also offering pre-orders for devices that bypass security protection measures for Nintendo Switch Lite and newer Nintendo Switch models. Nintendo said this is causing “tremendous harm to the company. Nintendo’s copyrighted games are at the heart of its popularity.”
UberChips went offline shortly after the suit was filed, but Nintendo still pursued legal action. Dilts responded through his attorney in June and denied any wrongdoing.
In addition to the $2 million payment, the court ordered a permanent injunction against the defunct site so it would not be able to do the same thing in the future. UberChips was also ordered to destroy its remaining stock and hand over its domain name to Nintendo and was forced to retire any existing social media accounts.
Back in 2018, Nintendo filed a similar lawsuit against another Team Xecutor hack reseller and in January of this year, it won an injunction against the defendant of that case, Sergio Mojarro Moreno. Nintendo also filed a lawsuit in September 2019 against a ROM website called RomUniverse, which allowed site members to download pirated video games, and it pursued legal action against other anonymous resellers.
Court documents indicate, “On December 28, 2019, Team Xecuter posted a video to their blog, TEAM-XECUTER.COM, showing the SX OS purportedly running on a Nintendo Switch Lite, thus demonstrating that they have developed new Circumvention Devices that can circumvent the Technological Measures on the Nintendo Switch Lite and on the post-June 2018 Nintendo Switch consoles (which contain the same Technological Measures as the Nintendo Switch Lite).”
Piracy is an ongoing issue for all gaming companies. Whenever a new console is released, hackers inevitably identify ways of pirating software at a much lower cost to consumers. “That is all about to change,” Nintendo said and added that the resellers it’s “targeting are currently offering new Switch hacking devices for pre-order and that they’ll ship them to the United States or Canada.” Over the course of its investigation, the company was able to “successfully place a pre-order for one of the devices for $45.95.”
The company is seeking $2,500 per trafficking violation in each of the lawsuits in addition to a permanent injunction to prevent the websites and their associated social media accounts from operating. Some are still pending. The recently settled case may offer some insight into the potential outcome of those still outstanding.