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News other 03 February 2021, 20:34

author: Szarmancki

Valve Loses Patent Infringement Lawsuit

Valve has lost an infringement lawsuit for a patent that was used in Steam Cotroller. The company will have to pay the other party $4 million, possibly more.

Late last month (i.e. January 26), a lawsuit began against Valve for infringement of a patent owned by Ironburg Inventions. It was about the placement of a particular pair of buttons on the Steam Controller. As it turned out, the case ended with the defendant losing and paying out $4 million in damages (via That's not much, considering how much Ironburg originally demanded.

The patent that spawned the lawsuit concerned two additional buttons in the form of elongated paddles located on the back of the controller. According to Ironburg's lawyer, they warned Valve as early as 2014, when the first Steam Controller prototype appeared, but Valve ignored it, because already in 2015 Valve's controller appeared on the market and found 1.6 million buyers (counting until 2019, when the hardware was withdrawn from sale).

Valve Loses Patent Infringement Lawsuit - picture #1
Comparison of Steam Controller's back and a sample pad from SCUF Gaming (exclusive licensee of Ironburg Inventions' patent)

And while according to, Valve's infringement was intentional, the company claimed to the very end that the controller does not infringe on the patent that Ironburg applied for back in 2011. Ironburg Invenstions had requested $11 million in damages from Valve at the start of the trial, but the court only awarded the minimum amount in this case, the aforementioned $4 million. However, there is a chance that the amount will be increased due to Valve's conscious decision to infringe patent law.

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