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Microsoft Wins Xbox Patent Battle

Microsoft Wins Xbox Patent Battle

August 3, 2010 | By Kris Graft

August 3, 2010 | By Kris Graft
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Microsoft last week won a court case originating in 2004 that had inventors suing the Xbox maker for allegedly infringing on online multiplayer gaming-related patents, according to court documents obtained by Gamasutra.

In 2004, Peter A. Hochstein, Jeffrey Tenenbaum and patent rights holder Harold Milton Jr. filed suit against Microsoft and Sony, accusing the companies of infringing on the 1994 patent, "Apparatus and method for electrically connecting remotely located video games," which covers devices that facilitate remote multiplayer gaming.

The plaintiffs said Microsoft and Sony infringed on the patent with Xbox Live and Sony's PlayStation Network, and were seeking royalties and an injunction against the continued use of the technology described in the patent.

U.S. District Court Judge Paul D. Borman ruled that the Michigan plaintiffs in the case would recover nothing, that the action be dismissed and that Microsoft collect legal fees from the plaintiffs.

The judge took issue with the patent's use of the term "electrical connection" -- Xbox Live does not use such a connection for communicating over the service, the court decided.

The patent in question refers to an invention that allows "for two or more players playing the same video game to compete with each other without using the same physical video game which alleviates the necessity of proximity of the players."

Sony settled with the plaintiffs out of court in April 2009, but Microsoft continued on with the case.


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