Microsoft Sued Over Xbox Live

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.

If long-winded legal documents are your thing, you can read up on the various stages of the case here, here and here. [via PA]


    I would like to patent the idea of "sentient beings" and then sue god.

    Here's two ideas:
    1. Patent the idea of existence can cause all object (living and inanimate), or

    2. Patent the patent process.

    what about PC games? you shouldn't be able to patent something after it is being used already.

    and what does communicating mean. it could be typing a message. this has been around way longer than '04.

    Bit pathetic. Microsoft know what they are doing. They are a bigger company than Sony and you would think being so, would just pay them out. This is what they did when both Sony & Microsoft were sued by that Vibration technology company. Microsoft settled out of court but made a really smart contract so that if and when Sony settled, Microsoft received back and more of their money somehow.

    MS as a whole are brilliantly smart. It almost makes me laugh. Yes they are M$ at every time possible, but thats the funny thing. Gates is a legend creating a multi-billionaire company from one product and has made it even larger but smart businessman and lawyers.

    Now if a company, MS in this situation, created a console and then an online service it is exactly like online on a PC. So their should be no infringement for this situation. It's not as if this company had copyrighted an online service to a console they never owned or created.

      I bet you have some kind of wierd fantasy where you hump Bill Gates' leg in a room surrounded by 360s with RRoD....

      MS is a rich company that have flogged ordinary software at extremely inflated prices. Then they went ahead and made an ordinary machine, deprived of all features and flogged it for more than it was worth, and got 80% of them back because the retards didn't engineer it properly (and had to get it out before sony).

      They didn't 'Copyright' and online service to a console they didn't own or create. A copyright is different to the patent, and exists only in works (literary, dramatic, artistic) and subject matter other than works such as TV/radio broadcasts and what not.

      A enforceable right in patent only exists upon registration of the patent. The patent here relates not to Xbox360 at all but the of communication of data ala Xbox Live, as patents are not registrations of 'ideas' but actual, novel inventions.

      A useful analogy is were I to have a patent on an airbag deployment mechanism for a car steering wheel. Then Toyota puts that mechanism in its cars without a licence from me. The patent doesn't relate to the car that I didn't 'own or create' but solely to the air bag mechanism which I did and have registered.

      So if MS is using the patented invention then they're infringing the patent rights.

    Yeah I have to agree about the PC gaming. Who do they sue in that case? Probably Blizzard for World of Warcraft? They make bajillions...

    SONYs a Bigger companie then microsoft . take look SONYs been around longer and SONY steel manage to Keep Ps2 and Psp in the game division when they hav Ps3 2 and they manage to make movies tv episodes banks tvs mp3s and way munch more . microsoft has been good in computers .but the xbox is not to so good if u look at it. i mean come on who just wants 2 ply games on xbox .ps3 u could search the web free online gaming and blue ray plus dvd and u can even get a part for the ps3 to watch live tv . both are great companies and game console but ps3 and xbox are getting beat by the wii nintendo also a great companie nintendo needs more attention lik SONY and microsoft . but in my thought Playstation 3 The Best game console today Xbox 2nd Best Wii 3rd Best

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