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Back in February 2021 we wrote an article about how Ironburg Inventions (a subsidiary of Corsair Gaming) were suing Valve for the Steam Controller and Valve has now firmly lost the case. As a brief reminder to save clicking around: Ironburg hold a patent on a controller with two buttons on the back, they sued Valve since the Steam Controller has back paddles.

In the new ruling that can be seen here, Judge Thomas S. Zilly has denied Valve's attempt to have a new trial and overturn the initial jury decision of $4,029,533.93 in damages. Overall it didn't go too well with Valve's defence stating how it was "about as straightforward a patent case as you could ever hope to get" and that the jury would have "no trouble making the right decision at the end of this case" based on the Steam Controller and the Patent. Zilly mentioned "The Court agrees that this case is straightforward and can be decided on the ’525 Patent and the accused device. The jury appears to have done exactly that, but defendant does not like the result the jury reached. Defendant’s dissatisfaction does not constitute grounds for judgment as a matter of law or a new trial." — ouch.

Not ideal for Valve, however, the judge also decided that Valve's infringement wasn't enough to award enhanced damages which could have been a real disaster. For Valve though, is four million dollars a lot? They print money thanks to Steam, so not likely. Since Valve no longer produce the Steam Controller, cutting their losses here is probably a good idea.

As it turns out, the previous hints of a new Steam Controller that might have come with four back-buttons appears to not be happening either. In the court documents we can see developers from Valve clearly mention the four-button approach did not survive their original iterative design process after many tests. Shame. I absolutely loved the Steam Controller, so a new version that got around the patent issues with a tweaked design would have been ideal. Well, at least we shall have the upcoming SteamPal console perhaps.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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36 comments
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1xok 1 Jun
Funnily enough, the Steam Controller had the best back paddles of any controller (as far as I can tell). And their construction is so simple how can you patent something like that? The decisive factor is the technical implementation.

But it has only become clear to me why Valve is diligently applying for patents. :)

It's annoying, but I suspect Valve won't go bust because of it.


Last edited by 1xok on 1 June 2021 at 7:20 pm UTC
tmhorne 1 Jun
Does the N64 controller not count? The Z button was on the back. Prior art.
Still have a couple unopen, sealed Steam Controllers I picked up for next to nothing when they were closing them out a few years ago... They got shuffled into a box and forgotten until we started going through boxes over the winter from moving. Looking at the going prices for new ones on eBay, maybe I should just store them for a few years and then sell them off. lol
tonyrh 10 years 1 Jun
Quoting: Luke_NukemGeez. I know with absolute certainty that a decade or so ago I had a controller with back buttons like this. No idea if I've still got it, might look for it. Something like a gioteck maybe?

The patent is from 2011. Geez.
tonyrh 10 years 1 Jun
Do you paladins really think Valve owns no patents?
einherjar 1 Jun
This "patents" that do not even describe a method how to exactly do it, are utter bullshit.
Quoting: tonyrhDo you paladins really think Valve owns no patents?

Does it changes my stance regarding "paytents"? Let me think... Nope!
Quoting: tonyrh
Quoting: Luke_NukemGeez. I know with absolute certainty that a decade or so ago I had a controller with back buttons like this. No idea if I've still got it, might look for it. Something like a gioteck maybe?

The patent is from 2011. Geez.

Well geez. Sorry my sense of time is skewed, I'm old. I was at least 12 years or more, and not Corsair or Ironburg Inventions branded afaik unless the company that made it was bought.
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Quoting: Luke_Nukem
Quoting: tonyrh
Quoting: Luke_NukemGeez. I know with absolute certainty that a decade or so ago I had a controller with back buttons like this. No idea if I've still got it, might look for it. Something like a gioteck maybe?

The patent is from 2011. Geez.

Well geez. Sorry my sense of time is skewed, I'm old. I was at least 12 years or more, and not Corsair or Ironburg Inventions branded afaik unless the company that made it was bought.
Yeah, this is a horse shit patent. Joysticks / controllers have had buttons on the back / bottom, all over the place for years.
Hori 2 Jun
Patent trolling wins again...
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