>The design patent infringement battle between Microsoft Corp. and Datel Design and Development Ltd. over Xbox 360 accessories in the U.S. might be coming to an end, at least for now. The two companies appear to have reached a settlement agreement this week resolving various infringement proceedings relating to Datel?ÇÖs Xbox 360 compatible game controllers. But another part of the conflict between the Xbox creator and the accessory manufacturer is just heating up in federal district court in California. The California action involves antitrust claims brought by Datel against Microsoft and highlights some of the strategies Microsoft is using to gain an advantage over competitors in the Xbox accessory market, as well as some of the obstacles it faces in doing so. Datel filed the complaint in response to a Microsoft software update for the Xbox 360 that rendered Datel?ÇÖs memory cards incompatible and useless with respect to the system,… Continue Reading
>A patent infringement suit targeting Xbox Live that we?ÇÖve been keeping our eye on went to trial yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The suit was originally filed back in September, 2004, by two inventors claiming Xbox Live infringed two of their patents covering voice and data communications technology. This case already produced some fireworks last month, when the judge overseeing the case threatened Microsoft?ÇÖs counsel with sanctions for a “frivolous objection” to a discovery request. Microsoft?ÇÖs counsel had objected to a request by the plaintiffs for a document relating to a ?Ç£2008 deposition?Ç¥ of a certain Microsoft employee, when they meant to say ?Ç£2009 deposition.?Ç¥ The judge asserted that Microsoft?ÇÖs counsel improperly used a typographical error to raise an objection on the ground of vagueness. The judge also chided Microsoft?ÇÖs counsel for producing over 140,000 documents without an index, saying the action demonstrated… Continue Reading
>All three leading console makers previewed new motion-sensing controller technology this week at E3. With the success of the Wiimote, the industry may have realized that killer controller hardware can sell consoles just as well as killer game titles. Whenever a large company launches a significant new product like a game controller, there are numerous intellectual property ?Ç£clearance?Ç¥ issues that play out behind the scenes. Not only does the company have to worry about protecting its new hardware design from infringers, but it simultaneously has to worry about infringing everyone else?ÇÖs intellectual property.Today at E3, Sony unveiled a motion-sensing system with a controller that can translate player movement as a sword, a bat, a gun, etc., while Nintendo announced a few technological tweaks to the Wiimote. Sony’s and Nintendo?ÇÖs unveilings came just a day after Microsoft announced that it developed a system that allows game control through tracking of players’… Continue Reading
>The PalTalk v. Microsoft case we’ve been following settled out last week in the midst of trial. Back in 2006, Paltalk sued Microsoft, alleging that communications through Xbox LIVE (either on the original Xbox or the 360) infringes two of its patents, 5,822,523 and 6,226,686. The trial began in March, and was ongoing until Microsoft and PalTalk filed a stipulation with the court saying that the claims and counterclaims between the parties should be dismissed, and that each party would cover their own costs and attorneys?ÇÖ fees. Unfortunately, we won’t get any idea of who came out on top, since the terms of the settlement are confidential. But, at least we know that Xbox LIVE won’t be going offline as a result of this infringement suit.