Nintendo's no stranger to frivolous patents — it does hold one for "handheld software emulation" after all, much to the EFF's chagrin — but they've just fallen afoul of one. U.S. Dictrict Judge Ron Clark has ordered Nintendo to either stop selling their Wii Classic Controllers and Gamecube Controllers or pay money to Anascape Ltd. for violating their analog stick patents.
This is the same Anascape that nailed Sony in 2004 and Microsoft earlier this year for their Playstation and Xbox controllers, which also featured analog thumb sticks... as do basically every modern controller. Curiously, the Wii nunchuck is not considered to be patent violating. The US District judge showed no mercy, completely rejecting Nintendo's request for a new trial. The end result is that Nintendo needs to stop selling all of its controllers with analog thumb sticks today or else post a bond or put royalties into an Anascape escrow account. Nintendo, naturally, aims to appeal.
There's zero chance Nintendo's actually going to pull Wii Classic Controllers off the shelves, so if you want one, you're probably safe. Still, one hopes that this experience will teach Nintendo something about frivolous patentry. Unfortunately, I suspect that lesson will ultimately be, "Make sure we're the ones who hold all the frivolous patents in the first place."