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Judge halves $30.2 million infringement award against Nintendo

By Bernard Vaughan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Wednesday ruled that inventor Seijiro Tomita can take half the $30.2 million in damages awarded him after a jury found Nintendo Co infringed one of his patents, or risk getting nothing.

The federal jury in New York awarded Tomita the damages in March after deciding the video game company infringed a 3-D display technology patent with its handheld 3DS videogame system.

Tomita's patent related to technology he developed for providing 3-D images without the need for 3-D glasses. He sued Nintendo and its U.S. unit in 2011 for patent infringement.

In a ruling on Wednesday, federal judge Jed Rakoff deemed the award "'intrinsically excessive' and unsupported by the evidence presented at trial."

By August 23, Tomita, 59, must decide whether to accept $15.1 million in damages or proceed to a new damages trial, the U.S. district judge ruled.

Rakoff noted that evidence at the trial showed Nintendo's 3DS console is not profitable, and the vast majority of games designed for it do not use technology covered by Tomita's patent.

The judge denied other requests from Nintendo, including overturning the jury's verdict or granting a new liability trial.

"Nintendo respects the intellectual property rights of other companies and is confident that none of its products infringes the asserted patent," Charlie Scibetta, a spokesman for Nintendo, said in a statement. "Nintendo will appeal the jury's verdict and reduced damages award to the court of appeals."

Joe Diamante, Tomita's lawyer, said that "We are still reviewing the decision and have no comment."

The case is Tomita Technologies USA, LLC et al v. Nintendo Co, Ltd et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 11-cv-4256.

(Reporting by Bernard Vaughan; editing by Andrew Hay)

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