Valve is the latest to be sued by Immersion over the rumble technology in its handheld platform, the Steam Deck, and other Valve Index hardware. Immersion has requested to be paid damages and royalties. In addition, the company has asked for an injunction against Valve “from deploying, operating, maintaining, testing, and using the Accused Handheld Instrumentalities and Accused VR Instrumentalities.”
Immersion Corporation is a technology company specializing in haptic feedback. Since being founded in 1993, Immersion has acquired several other haptic technology companies and patents. The rumble in video game controllers is a feature which Immersion has sued Microsoft, Sony, Meta, and Apple (among others) over.
Immersion has been accused in the past of being a patent troll, a company or individual who acquires many patents and sues, or threatens to sue, other companies or individuals over their alleged misuse of the patented technology. The patent system attempts to protect inventors, but patent trolls attempt to enforce a patent beyond what should be reasonably considered to be the patent’s purview.
Most other companies have settled their lawsuits with Immersion and licensed their patents afterwards. This was the case with both Microsoft and Sony. Nintendo has a different kind of haptic tech, but still licensed patents from Immersion. Valve and Nintendo use the same kind of rumble.
Read our coverage of the Steam Deck here.