New Lawsuit Filed Against Valve Claims Controller Designs Were Stolen
According to one of its lawyers, SCUF had originally warned Valve that it was infringing copyright in 2014.
While it may be discontinued, the Steam Controller is still haunting Valve. A lawsuit filed against Valve alleges that it willfully disregarded the patent another company held on part of the design of the Steam Controller.
The lawsuit against Valve was filed by SCUF, a custom gaming peripheral manufacturer. The company has its own line of modified controllers for both PlayStation and Xbox consoles that include colored faceplates, thumbsticks, and as many back paddles as a player could want. However, in opening arguments for an ongoing trial regarding these allegations, a lawyer representing SCUF claimed that Valve had copied the “rear-side control surfaces Ironburg had just patented.” Ironburg Inventions is the patent-holding arm of SCUF, according to Law360.
According to the lawyer representing SCUF, Valve was first warned about its copyright infringing design in 2014. Despite this, the company continued on with manufacturing and eventually selling the Steam Controller. Speaking to a jury over Zoom, Ironburg lawyer Robert Becker stated that “Valve’s intentional disregard of its infringement is at the heart of this case.” SCUF has since licensed its patent for rear buttons on controllers to Xbox. The back paddles on premium Xbox Elite Controllers are the very same as those at the center of these allegations.
Becker went on to attack Valve, saying the company was using its weight in the gaming industry to trample on the rights of smaller companies. “[It’s] the classic David and Goliath story: Goliath does what Goliath wants to do.”
Valve is denying any wrongdoing, with a lawyer representing the company saying that SCUF would reveal fake and altered information. The lawyer, Trent Webb, said “Nothing you will see or hear from Ironburg will change what you can see with your own eyes and feel with your own hands when you get that Steam Controller.” The controller was first released in 2015 before being discontinued on November 26, 2019.