In 1994, Peter Hochstein and Jeffrey Tenenbaum patented an idea for "communicating live while playing the same video game in separate locations". In 2004, they sued Microsoft, accusing Xbox Live of infringing on that patent.
Now, five years later, the case is starting to heat up.
See, unlike many other cases of this ilk - which can best be described as the work of "patent trolls" (ie people sitting on an idea just to make money off somebody else's work) - this one may have some teeth.
Why? Because in 2004, the two men not only sued Microsoft over Xbox Live, but Sony as well, claiming the PS2's online network infringed on the same patent. And in April of this year, Sony settled with them for an undisclosed sum.
What's more, Microsoft, rather than shrugging the case off with a team of mighty lawyers, have resorted to juvenile tricks, holding the case up for weeks in February 2009 over a single, innocent typo, and dumping 140,000 documents on Hochstein and Tenenbaum without an index.
Something tells me this may end up costing Microsoft a dollar or two.