Microsoft, as it turns out, is embroiled in a long-drawn battle over the ownership of the patent for their online service Xbox Live. As it turns out, they are being sued by Peter Hochstein and Jeffrey Tenenbaum for infringing on their patent of a method for "communicating live while playing the same video game in separate locations."
The said patent was filed back in 1994, and in 2004, just before the release of the Xbox 360, the lawsuit followed. Five years and still ongoing, the case is reported to be heating up. The thing is, as Kotaku suggests, this may not be your regular "they're rich and popular, let's slap them with a frivolous lawsuit for money" type of case.
When the patent owners sued Microsoft back in 2004, they simultaneously did the same thing with Sony as well. The beef with Sony: the PS2's online network also infringed on their 1994 patent. That ended quietly and (understandably) with no media fanfare when Sony settled with them for an undisclosed sum back in April of this year.
Microsoft, on the other hand, chose to be stubborn about it, resorting to little tricks that reported to have held up the case for weeks in February 2009, making a big fuss over a single typo, and "dumping 140,000 documents on Hochstein and Tenenbaum without an index."
Microsoft may not be too excited to find out that this particular secret of theirs has spilled out into the wild. But maybe this will expediate the case and force the unpleasant patent infringement merry-go-round to a halt.
At the expense of Microsoft, we're thinking, too.
Other courtroom drama Microsoft was involved in:
- Xbox game designer sues Microsoft for homophobic discrimination
- BBC Watchdog reignites Xbox 360 disc-scratching issue
- Microsoft settles US 90 million lawsuit over Halo and Xbox tech