A jury in the Western District of Washington state has ruled against Steam and ordered the company to pay $4 million in fines over allegations that the Steam Controller’s design infringed the intellectual property of SCUF Gaming and Ironburg Inventions, subsidiaries of famous gaming peripherals maker Corsair.
The patents in question relate to the use of back paddles and controls on the rear side of the controller body. The two companies own the patents for these features, and the jury unanimously ruled in Irongburg Inventions and SCUF Gaming’s favor. Interestingly, the jury also noted that Valve’s conduct was “willful,” which could allow Corsair to ask for more damages than the original penalty of $4 million.
“Valve did know that its conduct involved an unreasonable risk of infringement, but it simply proceeded to infringe anyway — the classic David and Goliath story: Goliath does what Goliath wants to do,” said Ironbug attorney Robert Becker when making his case to the jury, according to reporting by Law360.
Microsoft’s $150 Xbox Elite Controller also features a similar design, which required the company to enter a patent licensing agreement with SCUF Gaming.
Valve was also the subject of a putative class action lawsuit last week over allegations that a ‘Most Favored Nations’ clause in the Steam Distribution Agreement was artificially raising prices in the industry and was anti-competitive in nature.