Valve Faces Patent Infringement Lawsuit over Steam Deck and Valve Index

Image: Valve

Immersion Corporation, a developer and provider of technologies for haptics, has announced that it has filed a complaint against Valve in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington over what is alleged to be patent infringement regarding its Steam Deck and Valve Index devices. The complaint against Valve asserts infringement of at least seven patents, including those involving a “method and apparatus for providing tactile sensations” and a “system for haptically representing sensor input.” This does not appear to be the first time that Immersion has filed a suit against a gaming giant over patent infringement claims.

“Immersion and its employees have worked diligently for almost 30 years to invent innovative haptic technologies that allow people to use their sense of touch to engage with products and experience the digital world around them. Our intellectual property is relevant to many of the most important and cutting-edge ways in which haptic technology is and can be deployed, and, in the case of AR/VR experiences, haptics is crucial to an immersive user experience,” said Eric Singer, Chairman and CEO.

“While we are pleased to see that Valve recognizes the value of haptics and has adopted our haptic technology in its handheld video game and AR/VR systems as part of its effort to generate revenue streams through the sales of hardware, games and other virtual assets, and advertisements, it is important for us to protect our business against infringement of our intellectual property to preserve the investments that we have made in our technology,” added Mr. Singer. “We must ensure that our intellectual property is recognized as a necessary feature in the handheld video game and emerging AR/VR markets, even when litigation becomes necessary.”

Patents Listed in Immersion’s Complaint

  • U.S. Patent No. 7,336,260: “Method and Apparatus for Providing Tactile Sensations”
  • U.S. Patent No. 8,749,507: “Systems and Methods for Adaptive Interpretation of Input from a Touch-Sensitive Input Device”
  • U.S. Patent No. 9,430,042: “Virtual Detents Through Vibrotactile Feedback”
  • U.S. Patent No. 9,116,546: “System for Haptically Representing Sensor Input”
  • U.S. Patent No. 10,627,907: “Position Control of a User Input Element Associated With a Haptic Output Device”
  • U.S. Patent No. 10,665,067: “Systems and Methods for Integrating Haptics Overlay in Augmented Reality”
  • U.S. Patent No. 11,175,738: “Systems and Methods for Proximity-Based Haptic Feedback”

From an Immersion Corporation press release:

The complaint alleges that Valve’s handheld video game and augmented and virtual reality (“AR/VR”) systems, including the Steam Deck and Valve Index, infringe seven Immersion patents that cover various uses of haptic effects in connection with such systems. Immersion is seeking to enjoin Valve from further infringement and to recover a reasonable royalty for such infringement.

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