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Microsoft Sued over Xbox Live

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the nice-timing dept.

68

fiorenza writes "Ars Technica is reporting that Paltalk has sued Microsoft in the Eastern District of Texas over its Xbox Live service. The suit alleges that Microsoft's Xbox Live infringes on two of its patents, and that the company has suffered damages 'in at least the tens of millions of dollars,' which raises obvious questions about why they waited four years to file the suit (Xbox Live was launched in late 2002)." From the article: "Microsoft, as a company that runs multiplayer game servers, is alleged to be violating these patents. It's not clear how they're doing so--the initial complaint provides literally no evidence of Microsoft's guilt. The filing instead describes the Paltalk patents and the dates that Xbox Live went, err, live. After five pages of this, Paltalk simply claims that "gameplay on the Xbox or Xbox 360 through the Xbox Live online gaming service infringes the Paltalk patents," then goes on to ask for a jury trial. Presumably, actual information will be released once the trial begins."

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actual information? (4, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115499)

Presumably, actual information will be released once the trial begins.

I don't know if I'd make that assumption anymore. (see SCO v. IBM)

Re:actual information? (1)

Hydryad (935968) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115572)

I wonder if SCO has schizophrenia, I am getting the wierdest feeling of deja vu here myself. ;)

Re:actual information? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16115738)

I wonder if SCO has schizophrenia,
You're thinking of multiple personality. Common mistake.

Re:actual information? (0, Offtopic)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 7 years ago | (#16117426)

No, he's thinking of dissociative identity disorder.

There's no such think as multiple personality [disorder]. There's just dissociative disorder, which can express itself as 'dissociative identity disorder', where a person switches between different sets of memories and self-identities, some of which are aware of each other and some aren't. Dissociative disorder also contains dissociative fugue, which is where, basically, they just throw their life away and make up a new one (You know, where someone discovers a long-lost person living in another town under another name with no memory of their other life.), and dissociative amnesia, where they throw their life away and don't make up a new one, and depersonalization disorder, where people feel if they're watching themselves from the outside. (People on both illicit drugs and anesthesia get that one a lot)

Incidentally, everyone dissociates every once in a while. If you've ever been driving down the road and realized you seem to be missing the memory of the last ten minutes, while you quite obviously were driving and even making turns, you just dissociated. (Either that, or you just got wacked over the head and your short-term memory reset.) It happens other times, too, but that example is a good one because you obviously didn't fall asleep, which is what dissociating is often mistaken for.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm nitpicking a nitpick of a joke. Sue me.

Re:actual information? (2, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115731)

Last I checked, SCO v. IBM was in the terminal stage of the discovery process & SCO is in the position where they must put up or STFU.

They really don't have many more options to drag things out.

IIRC, SCO is fighting the Judge's decision(s) on IBM's motion(s) to dismiss/limit various aspects of the case... a motion IBM could make because SCO has yet to show any proof.

Anyways, trial is set for Feb 2007. If the judge hasn't forced something substantive out of SCO in the next 6 months, I imagine it won't be much of a trial.

Give with one hand, take with the other (4, Interesting)

legoburner (702695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115502)

Even Microsoft must be getting fed up with the instability caused by the patent system in the US. Do they benefit enough from having such a large number of patents that they would not put pressure on the system for change, or is everything building up to one big patent-lawsuit blowout with IBM/Sun/Every other major computer player (or does that work more like cold war style M.A.D.)?

Re:Give with one hand, take with the other (1, Insightful)

Alizarin Erythrosin (457981) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115619)

Do they benefit enough from having such a large number of patents that they would not put pressure on the system for change, or is everything building up to one big patent-lawsuit blowout with IBM/Sun/Every other major computer player (or does that work more like cold war style M.A.D.)?

Its more the latter (M.A.D.). See the SCO v IBM case for an example. SCO sued IBM for, among other things, violating some patents they may-or-may-not hold (as a result of the "asset transfer"). IBM then countersued SCO for, among other things, violating their patents on stuff.

Companies with huge patent portfolios (IBM, Microsoft, Intel, etc) will usually set up cross licensing deals in the settlement process from an infringement lawsuit that will allow them to use patents without fear of suit.

Re:Give with one hand, take with the other (1)

Behrooz (302401) | more than 7 years ago | (#16120449)

Its more the latter (M.A.D.). See the SCO v IBM case for an example. SCO sued IBM for, among other things, violating some patents they may-or-may-not hold (as a result of the "asset transfer"). IBM then countersued SCO for, among other things, violating their patents on stuff.

Companies with huge patent portfolios (IBM, Microsoft, Intel, etc) will usually set up cross licensing deals in the settlement process from an infringement lawsuit that will allow them to use patents without fear of suit.


I'd say it's closer to Mutually Assured Noncompetion. The biggest shared interest that major patent holding groups have is keeping other entities out of the club, and massive cross-licensing of patents is a very effective way to prop up the status quo. Just one more reason why the current patent system is hopelessly broken from a benefit-to-society perspective...

See: Oligarchy [wikipedia.org] , Barriers to Entry [wikipedia.org]
 

Re:Give with one hand, take with the other (2, Insightful)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115652)

Microsoft is probably the most pro-patent reform of any US tech company. The problem is that, as cases like this show, they can't afford to not play the game... they just want the rules of the game to change.

Re:Give with one hand, take with the other (1)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115829)

Microsoft is not the most pro-patent. That award belongs to the legions of patent trolls, delusional companies such as SCO and IBM which ACTUALLY has valid aging patents.

Re:Give with one hand, take with the other (1)

bunions (970377) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115910)

he said "pro-patent reform"

Re:Give with one hand, take with the other (1)

static0verdrive (776495) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115967)

He said pro-patent REFORM, meaning for the change of the current broken patent system

Re:Give with one hand, take with the other (4, Insightful)

cybermancer (99420) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115927)

Actually a cold war is fairly accurate. Many patent rich companies use the patents they hold, that they know others are infringine upon as a defense to keep other patent rich companies from suing them.

Anytime a patent infringement lawsuit comes in they will examine the business of the one suing them to see which patents they can counter-sue on. Their goal is to counter sue for enough damages to exceed the original complaint.

Most companies in the computer industry know not to sue IBM because they hold so many patents that everyone is most likely infringing on. Occasionally some small company does attempt to sue them and IBM makes an example of them.

Re:Give with one hand, take with the other (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 7 years ago | (#16116136)

Anytime a patent infringement lawsuit comes in they will examine the business of the one suing them to see which patents they can counter-sue on. Their goal is to counter sue for enough damages to exceed the original complaint.

Most companies in the computer industry know not to sue IBM because they hold so many patents that everyone is most likely infringing on. Occasionally some small company does attempt to sue them and IBM makes an example of them.


But surely the solution is simply to sell your offensive patents to a patent-trolling company? You know, the ones that don't make any products at all, but merely collect patents and sue people for doing productive things. Since such a company doesn't have any business even remotely related to the field in which it holds the patents, it is presumably unlikely to be infringing any patents held by the victim, and will thus be immune to countersuits.

Or am I missing something? (Maybe IBM holds the legendary patent on frivolous patent lawsuits?)

Re:Give with one hand, take with the other (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16116351)

But surely the solution is simply to sell your offensive patents to a patent-trolling company? You know, the ones that don't make any products at all, but merely collect patents and sue people for doing productive things. Since such a company doesn't have any business even remotely related to the field in which it holds the patents, it is presumably unlikely to be infringing any patents held by the victim, and will thus be immune to countersuits.
No, indeed you have it correct. But even if the company cannot be counter-sued for patent infringement, fighting IBM could go a long way towards decreasing the value of your patents for suing other companies. Your patents may either be invalidated, or IBM may successfully argue that they're just not worth much. Or, since IBM has been in business for such a long time and your patent is one of those stupid-obvious ones, IBM may go digging through the dustbin of projects long-dead and successfully argue that they've been using it since before you thought of it.

On the other hand, IBM may quietly settle out of court. The "quiet" part is less likely than it seems, because these sue-happy IP houses are just salivating at the prospect of annoucing that IBM has licensed their portfolio. Patents that have been so blessed by Big Blue would undoubtedly send mere mortal corporations running for their checkbooks.

Re:Give with one hand, take with the other (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#16120244)

Well, you'd have to keep a licensing agreement with that troll company and you wouldn't get money from the lawsuit at all. This may work if you just want to damage the opposition but since patent MAD is not handled by the law but by the way the responsible people feel right now they might figure yout you're behind that troll company and blast you anyway.

Re: Give with one hand, take with the other (1)

NoMoreBits (920983) | more than 7 years ago | (#16116273)

Having a large patent portfolio only helps to deal with other large companies that *do produce* something. Then both companies mutually agree that it is not in their interest not to destroy each other. Think of the United States and Soviet Uninon during the cold war.

However, if you get sued by some one that don't produce anything then all your own patents are useless, unless you can prove that you have already patented what is being contested, and your patent preceedes theirs.

Now, (3, Interesting)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115508)

I wondered how I felt about this, and I've decided this is a very good thing. I dislike MS as much as the next Linux user* but I also dislike patents. So what I hope will happen, and what I assume will happen, is that MS will be sued, but will win and these stupid patents will be invalidated. The patent trolls lose their patents and MS loses a lot of money on lawyers. yay!

*It is said "BSD is for those who love UNIX, Linux is for those who hate M$"... which I like so much I'll bring up now

Re:Now, (1)

heyguy (981995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115574)

It seems like MS can hire some TV lawyer for a few hundred bucks to defend against these schmos.

Re:Now, (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#16133365)

I think I know a team for the job. And if Microsoft has a problem, if no one else can help, and if they can find them, maybe Microsoft can hire them.

-Eric

More likely (1)

PhoenixOne (674466) | more than 7 years ago | (#16123225)

Microsoft would rather lose the lawsuit and pay a few million rather then invalidate a tool that they can use aganst other companies.



Microsoft will either buy the company or tie them up in years of lawsuits (which will kill the company). In the end, chances are Microsoft lawyers will either find a problem with the suit or the holding company will get so tired they will just settle out-of-court.



Is it any wonder... (1)

xENoLocO (773565) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115528)

... that microsoft is patenting everything? Suits like this cost money.

It's rediculous, and patent reform is the only way out. These are major companies, too. Average Joe stands no chance in court against the big dogs.

Wave Net (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115538)

Midway's wave net per dates this buy a few years
hhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultimate_Mortal_Komb at_3_Wave_Net#Ultimate_Mortal_Kombat_3_Wave_Net
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rush_Wavenet [wikipedia.org]

Re:Wave Net (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115939)

That's the crappiest wikipedia entry I've ever seen. It literally doesn't tell you jack shit, it's just a list of links.

Not prior art (1)

grahamwest (30174) | more than 7 years ago | (#16118033)

I'm not a lawyer, but I was around at Williams/Midway at the end of MK3 Wavenet and by my reading of the 523 patent claims, Wavenet is not prior art. The patent claims a set of computers pushing messages up to a server every so often, the server aggregating them and pushing a compound message back down to everyone who needs to know. It claims this running on a fixed, short time interval, over the Internet, with the groups being registered and subsequently joined by individual computers.

However, there is nothing in common with Wavenet. Wavenet was an asynchronous peer-to-peer arrangement which did no aggregation and worked over ISDN lines so that it had much higher bandwidth and lower latency than was available via the Internet for arcades at that time (28kbit modem).

With all that said, I don't see merit in this lawsuit. I've shipped Xbox games including online play and I know how Xbox Live works. I don't think there's anything I can publicly disclose, but suffice it to say there's none of it that I know of that works on this aggregated fixed-framerate multicast sort of model.

Millions and millions... (2, Interesting)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115541)

Of course they waited and waited to see how much business the XBox Live was doing. Regardless of whether or not their claim has any merit, it's typical that a plaintiff like this is going to claim that should be receiving licensing fees in proportion to the scale of business at which the patent applies. If XBox Live did 10 times as well, the calculation damages should result in a figure that his also 10 times higher.

That said, there is something SCO-like [wikipedia.org] stinkin' here...

Is this really such a big deal for Microsoft? (2, Insightful)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115564)

In the best case scenario this is thrown out of court and Microsoft's lawyers actually get to earn their keep. No big deal other than a few sensationalist headlines every now and again. Isn't any press good press anyhow?

In the worst case Microsoft is seriously guilty of the claims of infringement. They end up paying a few tens of millions of dollars and having to pay to liscense the stolen technology in Live. But considering that Microsoft makes billions of dollars each year as a whole company and that the Xbox division dropped something like $4 billion on the Xbox, and probably a few extra billion on the Xbox 360 at this point, does an extra ten or twenty million dollars really matter?

Considering that Live is one of Microsoft's big selling points for their console, I seriously doubt that they would put themselves into a situation where they could no long offer it until they fixed parts to work around the infringement. Either they throw some chump change at some company or they don't. Business as usual in that the only real winners are the lawyers.

Re:Is this really such a big deal for Microsoft? (5, Interesting)

cybereal (621599) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115746)

You seem to have missed about half the point here. You are correct about the costs being insignificant to the XBOX project for Microsoft. Well, not entirely insignificant, but certainly nowhere near untenable.

However, the real point of this article is about the patent trolls. If you look at it as a case as MS having to decide if paying for trials or paying the desired settlement (which is bound to be less than what is asked in the trial itself) then you'll see that MS may be better off just paying these guys without a trial. This is a serious problem with the legal system.

You see, if Microsoft decided to take this to court, and they won, then a precedent would be set for similar cases in the future. This precedent would serve the smaller companies that can't really afford to pay out settlements. But instead, MS will probably just settle and give into this extortion and future cases just like this will continue to come about with no new ammunition against them.

It's unfortunate but, our legal system relies heavily on precedents and if none are set, well, no progress is ever made.

Re:Is this really such a big deal for Microsoft? (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 7 years ago | (#16125852)

Or settle and buy a significant percentage of the companies stock. Later the same company will also sue PS3's sad little Live clone, Sony will deny any wrong doing, lose and be required to disable the service... oh wait that was the rumble feature.

Re:Is this really such a big deal for Microsoft? (1)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 7 years ago | (#16116561)

It isn't a big deal for Microsoft. It is a big deal for any company that plans to offer voice or video chat that doesn't have millions to spend on lawyers to fight patent trolls. It is a big deal for open source and non-profit software, who most of the time don't have a penny to spend on lawyers for patent trolls.

One of the effects of patent trolls is to raise the legal costs of doing buisness to the point where only big corporations like Microsoft can afford the legal costs of fighting patent trolls.

Patent apparently about internet audioconferencing (2, Informative)

SEMW (967629) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115571)

Paltalk is a company that makes an addon for AOL, Yahoo, and ICQ that apparently "enhances the traditional instant message and chat room functionality you know and love with state-of-the-art voice and video that you'll enjoy with all your senses", including the equivalent of multiple-user audio/video-conferencing in chat rooms and instant messages. Presumably, then, they are going after the in-game chatting ability in X-box live. If this is true (though don't take it as read, I'm not a patent lawyer), it seems utterly baseless -- or at least, an obvious extension to an already existing technology, which is pretty much the same thing.

Re:Patent apparently about internet audioconferenc (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115733)

How the fuck do I enjoy voice and video with all of my senses?

Re:Patent apparently about internet audioconferenc (4, Funny)

EEBaum (520514) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115789)

While the program is running, a Paltalk representative arrives at your house, kicks you in the shin, deposits a dog turd onto your carpet, and spits in your mouth. And for those with a sixth sense, he imagines kittens being thrown into a wood chipper.

Re:Patent apparently about internet audioconferenc (4, Funny)

edremy (36408) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115805)

How the fuck do I enjoy voice and video with all of my senses?

I'm not totally clear on that but I'm sure the porn industry will lead the way.

Re:Patent apparently about internet audioconferenc (1)

ifrag (984323) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115831)

For starters, stand close enough to the TV that you are inhaling (and smelling) O3. Now look at the screen while touching the controller, eating cheeze puffs, and screaming into your mic as you get fragged.

Patents v. Trademarks (1)

courtarro (786894) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115580)

Why don't patents have a "genericized" sort of clause like trademarks do? In the trademark world, if you don't protect your trademark by at least pretending to control its use, then after a reasonable period of time you lose the right to control it. Is this not a reasonable stance to take on patents? Cases like this seem to have become more and more common with popular products violating patents.

If someone is violating your patent, you should be required to ask them for compensation within say, a year, or you lose the right to enforce that patent. It seems very unfair that a patent holder can quietly wait years for a violating product to become incredibly popular before he pops in and says "Hey! That's all mine!"

Re:Patents v. Trademarks (2, Insightful)

The_REAL_DZA (731082) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115869)

It seems very unfair that a patent holder can quietly wait years for a violating product to become incredibly popular before he pops in and says "Hey! That's all mine!"

 
The entire point of patents is to protect an innovator from losses if/when some entity tries to profit from the innovator's hard work (without licensing it from the innovator.) If nobody's profiting (actually, if the innovator isn't losing anything -- an "entity" similarly can't start making widgets they don't own or license the patent for and give them away, no matter how altruistic their motives might be, because the patent holder is presumably losing money every time someone accepts the "free" widget instead of purchasing one from a licensee -- then there are no damages and there's no reason to file suit. It's entirely possible that Microsoft legitimately owes these folks a trunk of money, and it's just as likely that Microsoft will just cut 'em a check for whatever the market value is for the technology to just buy the patent and continue on their merry little juggernaut-jaunt -- one thing we can count on, though, is that Microsoft's more than willing to pay a few lawyers to push paperwork through the mill to see if they're legally obligated to write the patent holders a check (that much they've proven time and again)
 
Slashdot may be approaching the "breakover" point towards A.I.; the captcha on this post was "quagmire"... spooky!

Re:Patents v. Trademarks (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115990)

The entire point of patents is to protect an innovator from losses if/when some entity tries to profit from the innovator's hard work

No, that was the point of patents. The point of patents with our current system is to protect megacorporations and make the process of getting submarine patents and other applications which should be thrown out immediately through the system.

Re:Patents v. Trademarks (2, Interesting)

BeeBeard (999187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16116088)

IAAL, but not a patent lawyer. What I do know is that what you're suggesting would effectively dismantle the U.S. patent system. Trademarks just identify goods and services and protect what usually amounts to name recognition and consumer goodwill.

But patents are completely different. A patent is a property right granted to an inventor that gives the inventor a reasonable period of time to profit from their invention without fear of infringement. Whether or not the inventor has profited from the patent is completely irrelevant. All it does is estop others from doing so. You can probably already see how a legal, government-granted right to prevent others from doing something would be incompatible with some constructive right to steal granted after a certain period of time. At the very least, the law is far more protective of innovation than it is of someone's right to sell an already-invented product under a particular name.

The other thing is that patents are by no means secretive--in fact, the process of applying for a patent involves revealing in intricate detail the "guts" of what it is you're trying to patent. Once granted, patents become public records and can be easily searched for at little cost. Therefore, if somebody is infringing on a patent, they really should have known better and their defense to what they're doing tends to be pretty weak.

The problem is that as computer technology matures, what looked like innovative and patentable products and processes years back can later look increasingly generic and onerous. There are other industries that suffer from this problem as well, but it's most prevalent in the computer industry, where a few years of innovation becomes an eternity (once the personal computer and software to run it and network it were invented, how do you really innovate from there?). The places where innovation can occur become increasingly smaller.

My personal opinion is that a certain amount of infringement and stealing is not just a symptom of the U.S. patent system, but *necessary* for further innovation in a field crowded with disparate technologies. But that's another story. And be prepared to be laughed out of court if you try to use that as a legal argument. ;)

Isn't the speed of this "innovation" (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 7 years ago | (#16116269)

proof of how obvious it is? I mean, yeah, it took time to invent then perfect the lightbulb. But voice chatrooms? It's just a conference call over ip. Moreover, I see more and more patents that don't cover technology, but the application of technology. Seen in that light, Amazon's "One click Shopping" wasn't an invention, it was an application of cookies.

Re:Isn't the speed of this "innovation" (1)

BeeBeard (999187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16117865)

Not really. All you did was echo my own sentiments and summarize my comment, and you got modded higher. I guess it's not too late for me to patent a ./ moderation system that works.

It is logically untenable to state that building upon existing technologies to create new technologies makes those existing technologies more obvious for the purpose of undermining a patent. Our collective comfort level and familiarity with technologies as time goes on is something different entirely.

I am too ignorant of science and history to cite really cutting examples of how ludicrous that would be, but here goes anyway: "Larry Wall invents Perl using an 8086-based IBM PC, thus invalidating Intel's patents on the 8086 microchip. The inventor of the CRT could not be reached for comment. Also, the inventor of the candle is still displeased with Edison's bold new room-lighting ideas."

Of course you're going to see (more?) patents for technologies that are based on other technologies, other ideas. Almost everything new that was ever created was made using tools or technologies that already existed, because that is the very nature of innovation. When inventions stray so far from known applications and prove themselves overwhelmingly useful (cotton gin, light bulb, automobile, movable type) then we often name entire historical Ages after them. If you're lamenting the time between symbolic light bulb inventions, join the club.

So its sorta like (2, Insightful)

joshetc (955226) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115591)

Blizzard's battle.net service? IIRC that was rolled out around 1997, wouldn't it be prior art then?

Re:So its sorta like (1)

Buzz_Litebeer (539463) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115605)

MS Zone was actually earlier. Same with several other services, such as DWANGO and the TEN network.

Re:So its sorta like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16115780)

i think DARPA also made something similar a while ago... something to do with tubes... i dont remember.

Re:So its sorta like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16115966)

No, DARPA was trying to use trucks. Some guy from Italy or something decided that the internets should be tubes instead of trucks.

How is this innovative? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16115613)

They have a patent for doing no more than the US Postal Service does with mail.

"Microsoft Sued over Xbox Live"... (3, Funny)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 7 years ago | (#16115697)

This just goes to show you how useful technology is becoming for real-life scenarios.

MS sued over Xbox live? Tremendous progress! I mean, you don't see many law suits taking place over AIM, TTY, or even IRC!

- RG>

I'm rooting for Microsoft (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16115748)

** head explodes **

Microsoft Sued over Xbox Live? (4, Funny)

Evro (18923) | more than 7 years ago | (#16116027)

That's an odd way to sue someone, I'd think they'd do it in a court of law.

Be an American! Sue somebody! (2, Insightful)

Intangible Fact (1001781) | more than 7 years ago | (#16116093)

I guess this is the American Way? Sue, sue & sue, its quite annoying. The only reason why they are doing this is because they know MS has loads of cash.

Re:Be an American! Sue somebody! (1)

AnotherAaron (995504) | more than 7 years ago | (#16116783)

What's the point of suing someone who doesn't have loads of cash?

Re:Be an American! Sue somebody! (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 7 years ago | (#16121171)

What's the point of suing someone who doesn't have loads of cash?

Driving them to financial/personal ruin and possibly bankruptcy.

To be payed in Microsoft Points (1)

MrSquishy (916581) | more than 7 years ago | (#16116257)

Can they just issue them codes for 2,750,000 downloads of the Oblivion Horse Armor?

Hopefully, if they win... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16116399)

They'll invest in a usability engineer or two.

Hey Paltalk, did you ever consider that your exit YesNo MessageBox was just a tad bit insulting? I'm well aware that I tried to close your horrible application. Furthermore, if you ask me to see if I'm SURE I want to quit, you don't have explain what will happen if I click "Yes".

For those who haven't ever seen it: http://www.imagehosting.us/index.php?action=show&i dent=1614740 [imagehosting.us]

And so let's just assume that your users are complete idiots. Which many of them are. Then why the hell include a Ping frontend in your preferences dialogue box? Furthermore, why do I have to supply MY own URL to ping? Why not tell me how well I'm connected to your servers?

In conclusion, Paltalk makes a horrible interface. So I hope they lose. Or win, and hire a usability expert or two.

Does /. not know how to read anymore? (3, Informative)

Janthkin (32289) | more than 7 years ago | (#16117172)

From TFA: "The two patents at issue are the '523 patent and the '686 patent, both of which involve server-group messaging."

I read every comment that was posted prior to starting to write this. Lots of babble about "Oh, Battle.net predates this" and "it must be about voice over Live". Read, people!

The '523 patent, from a cursory reading of the one independent claim, looks to involve transmissions from a collection of host computers (think individual Xboxen), back to a central server, where the data is aggregated, and then returned to one of the host computers. Interesting bit is that it's dealing with a unicast network and payloads, which doesn't sound like packet-based transmission. See the long, boring words of the patent for more details.

The '686 is an extremely narrow-looking patent, addressing the creation of a "group" of computers for messaging purposes. See Claim 1 - there are 6 ennumerated elements, each with subconditions, and a final non-ennumerated element; infringement would have to touch each and every one of these elements.

xbox live is "peer to peer" for the most part.. (1)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16117428)

voice chat isn't included in the dashboard like xbox live version 1 but peer to peer communications.

There are games - specifically EA games that use servers, but i'm not sure how the voice is handled on them or if the servers are for games, stats or data gathering or other purposes.

Statue of limitations (1)

Sage of Lightning (696643) | more than 7 years ago | (#16117354)

Mayby a statue of limitations is in order if you havn't filed a claim against a company within 5 years of them putting a product out you loose the rights to the patent.

Re:Statue of limitations (1)

Archfeld (6757) | more than 7 years ago | (#16118171)

Maybe 5 years from when you 'discover' the alleged infringment, although that introduces a boatload of new issues as well.

Oh, woe is Slashdot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16118884)

Who will they root for? Microsoft sued by patent troll... Is M$ evil for infringing on an "innovator's" overly broad messaging patent...? Or is it just a patent troll w/ some obvious patent they don't deserve, and M$ is actually in the right? Damn! What a conundrum!

Sorry, I don't mean to laugh, but I just can't wait to see how this one pans out. Has anybody here crapped themselves yet? Heh.

Gamespy anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16119328)

Uhm, doesn't gamespy offer services very close to Xbox Live? So they must have been violating their patents longer than Microsoft has.

Hope it get's worse soon (0)

amavida (898618) | more than 7 years ago | (#16119389)

I hope patent trolling accelerates to such a point that the US law makers will be forced to confront their stupid decision & rectify it sooner rather than later.

Is this for voice or game servers? (1)

ZWarrior (194861) | more than 7 years ago | (#16120691)

I am not sure exactly which is being referenced here, but there are a few other areas other than Live tha will be hit.

Voice: Ventrilo and other such Voice communication software packages. Heck, many of the newer games, Battlefield 2 and UnReal Tournament 2004 for instance, have VOIP built into the software.

Games: Pretty much any PC game out there, which has a multiplayer option, has to connect to a "server" and get the packet updates for the game from that computer. How is it that they are willing to sue MS for Live, but not the various game companies for their "infringment"? Heck just think of the money they could get from the likes of Blizzard and Sony alone.

I am not a lawyer, I don't play one on TV, and I didn't sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night, but I would think that this case needs to be thrown out on the basis that they don't have a leg to stand on. Mainly because I believe there is plenty of previous art to invalidate the patent itself. They filed for the patents in 1996, and received it 1998 (I think I read that correctly). I have ben playing multiplayer games a lot longer, and working on computer networks even longer. But then this is our legal system and patent system we are talking about, like it or lump it.

Re:Is this for voice or game servers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16135677)

How is it that they are willing to sue MS for Live, but not the various game companies for their "infringment"? Heck just think of the money they could get from the likes of Blizzard and Sony alone.

RTFA & STFU.

What a baby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16121176)

I'm so sick of these whiny people who want to make a quick buck. He will lose not because of the size of Microsoft, but it is a very stupid claim,

Ironic (1)

LuciferosX (987569) | more than 7 years ago | (#16126754)

Isn't it ironic that when Sony was sued over their controller all the hate on here showed through and the cheering on here was immeasurable. But now that MS has been found to be infringing on yet another company's patent you don't see those same people cheering. What, is Sony the only one who fucks up? No, I didn't think so.

Re:Ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16127801)

The difference is though, that Sony's patent infringement was obvious and stated by the company in their suit. This suit isn't obvious even to several lawyers that have commented that HAVE read the patents.

About... (2)

mrwhippie.68 (983196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16129311)

...bloody time!
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