Valve you are going to have to pay at least four million dollars to Ironburg Inventions for having infringed a patent with his Steam Controller, a command of which 1.6 million units were sold during the four years in which it was on sale. The trial, which was carried out via Zoom due to COVID-19 restrictions, took place on January 26, 2021 and this first verdict arrived yesterday.
Ironburg Inventions, Owner of the Knob Manufacturer SCUF Gaming
At the time, Valve ignored the warnings from Ironburg Inventions and went ahead with his plans, according to this information, and ended up releasing the Steam Controller in 2015.
The patent referenced by Ironburg, filed in 2011 by Simon Burgess and Ironburg Inventions CEO Duncan Ironmonger, can be consulted here. In the following image we can see the rear controls which, according to Ironburg, used Valve without the relevant license marked with the number 11:
Valve could have prevented this with a license
Microsoft, for example, is licensed by Ironburg which allows you to use those kinds of controls on your controllers. Valve, on the other hand, in addition to not attending to Ironburg’s notices in 2014, assured during the trial that in no case had such an infraction occurred.
The current situation is that the jury has decided unanimously that Valve infringed the Ironburg patent and must pay four million dollars in damages. Ironburg initially asked for 11 million dollars, or at least the six million dollars equivalent to the license agreement it reached with Microsoft for the Xbox controllers, but for now it remains in those four million.
The jury also believes that Valve deliberately infringed the Ironburg patent, which could lead to in an increase of that amount if Judge Judge Thomas Zilly of the Western District of Washington comes into play and considers Valve’s offense to be greater. It also remains to be seen what Valve’s next move is.