Meta settles lawsuit over haptic suggestions tech in Quest headsets

Immersion, an organization specializing in haptic suggestions tech, has settled a lawsuit with Meta over the latter’s use of touch-feedback in its Quest VR headsets.

In a press launch, Immersion mentioned that it had signed a license with Meta to make Immersion’s patents out there to Meta and its associates’ {hardware}, software program, VR and gaming merchandise. The phrases of the deal weren’t disclosed.

“We’re delighted to grant Meta a license to our patents for haptic applied sciences,” Immersion president and CEO Eric Singer mentioned in a canned assertion. “We’re excited to license Meta for his or her supply of high-quality haptics of their gadgets.”

Based mostly in Aventura, Florida and based in 1993, Immersion’s first main buyer was Microsoft, with whom the startup labored to combine its haptic suggestions and contact expertise Microsoft’s DirectX APIs. After buying a haptic patent portfolio from Cybernet Programs, a small tech agency, in 1999, Immersion listed publicly on the NASDAQ.

Within the years since its IPO, Immersion has gained a status as a patent troll, utilizing focused mergers to amass the rights to over a thousand haptic suggestions patents. As of 2014, Immersion had over 1,650 issued or pending patents within the haptic subject within the U.S. and different international locations — a quantity which dropped to round 1,200 to 1,300 by the top of June.

A few of Immersion’s patents are of doubtful legitimacy, as a 2018 put up on the Digital Frontier Basis spotlights. One, “Interactive digital actuality efficiency theater leisure system,” covers minor tweaks to current VR methods like having gamers watch pre-recorded movies — though these tweaks weren’t new on the patent software’s submitting.

Immersion filed a swimsuit towards Microsoft and Sony in 2002, alleging that their sport console controllers have been infringing on two of its patents. Each defendants finally reached agreements with Immersion that concerned multimillion-dollar funds; Sony was compelled to pay $150 million, whereas Microsoft opted to purchase 10% of Immersion’s inventory and a perpetual license.

It’s lengthy been rumored that Sony’s loss led the corporate to launch the PlayStation 3 model of its DualShock controller with out rumble.

In 2016, Immersion claimed that Apple infringed two patents on the iPhone 6s and Apple Watch. And in Could 2023, Immersion sued Valve for alleged infringement regarding the usage of vibration within the firm’s Steam Deck and Valve Index VR headset.

Curiously, as a current put up from Searching for Alpha’s Gary Bourgeault factors out, Immersion’s enterprise mannequin isn’t particularly worthwhile — or sustainable in the long term. The corporate has remained within the $30 million to $36 million income vary for a lot of years, with important overhead from its litigation towards corporations with monumental authorized departments and deep pockets.

“On the litigation facet, [Immersion] can get momentary boosts to its share value due to the thousands and thousands of {dollars} it’s awarded,” Bourgeault writes. “[B]ut as talked about earlier, there aren’t a number of large corporations to maneuver the needle if it decides to litigate to defend its patents … The purpose is, whereas there’s a really predictable stream from fastened charges, licensing and royalties, these streams of income dry up as soon as the patents run off.”

Leave a Comment