Valve has been fined $4million in Steam controller infringement case

“Valve did know that its conduct involved an unreasonable risk of infringement”

Valve has been ordered to pay a fine of US$4million in damages to third-party controller company SCUF following the conclusion of a copyright infringement trial.

This is according to a Law.com report detailing the trial. The week-long trial, which began in January through Zoom due to the ongoing pandemic, concluded with the jury finding Valve guilty of infringing a SCUF controller design patent from 2013.

The SCUF controller design patent included back pedals that players would have controlled with their middle fingers. The controller was first showcased during the 2014 CES show, after which Valve was warned of its potential infringement.

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Valve reportedly ignored the warning and launched its own controller for Steam in 2015 with the same back pedal feature, before pulling the product in 2019. The controller had sold over 1.6million units.

“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,” SCUF lawyer Robert Becker said during the trial.

It is currently unclear if Valve will seek to file an appeal against the jury’s ruling.

SCUF’s patented controller technology has since caught on in a big way, with Microsoft licensing the design from SCUF for its Xbox Elite controllers.

The US$4million fine is the second fine Valve has been ordered to pay in 2021. The compnay was splanned with a £1.42million fan in January for geo-blocking games in Europe, in violation of EU competition laws. Other companies like CapcomBandai NamcoZeniMax, Koch Media and Focus Home were also fined.

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