The folks at SCUF and Ironburg Inventions sued Valve a few years ago for patent infringement. They claimed that Valve’s “Steam Controller” was made without the proper paperwork, working with SCUF to license their patents for back-facing paddle controls. But wait, you might be saying, the Steam Controller isn’t the only controller with back-facing paddles, right? You’re right!
SCUF holds a whopping 105 patents for designs that include all manner of controller buttons and triggers. These include “rear-side control surfaces” as included in their original lawsuit filing. SCUF is very good at creating and patenting video game controller triggers, levers, and buttons.
They are SO GOOD at making certain their controller innovation is acknowledged, they’ve worked with both Sony and Microsoft to make officially licensed controllers and/or elements for official controllers. For Sony, that means a May 2018 reveal of the “SCUF Vantage,” an “officially licensed performance controller for the PS4.”
For Microsoft, that was a licensing agreement in October of 2015 in which Microsoft would get the rights to use SCUF patents, innovations, and intellectual property. That included an agreement in which SCUF gaming became “the exclusive 3rd party accessories partner for the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller.”
Valve created the Steam Controller without working with SCUF. Corsair, parent company of Ironburg Inventions Ltd. and SCUF Gaming, announced that they won the court case in which they stated that Valve Corp infringed patent 8,641,525 controller patent. The unanimous jury verdict found Valve guilty of willful infringement of said patent, awarding the plaintiff “over $4 million.”
This is a bummer for Valve, especially given the fact that they discontinued the controller back in November of 2019. This was after a sort of failure to launch for SteamOS by Valve over the few years before. Steam Machines never really took flight, and the Steam Controller likely cost Valve a whole lot more than it delivered in profit.