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United Kingdom Input Devices Microsoft Patents The Courts XBox (Games) Games

Microsoft Sues UK's Datel Over Controllers 109

nathanielinbrazil writes "Microsoft has sued a British manufacturer over the infringement of four of its patents for Xbox game controllers. The suit was filed in Seattle, Washington, and Datel has yet to respond. Datel is a United Kingdom company with a US unit and has produced two specific controllers — the TurboFire and WildFire — that Microsoft wants stopped." The infringing patents are over "portions of a gaming controller" and "portion of a gaming input device having an illuminated region."
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Microsoft Sues UK's Datel Over Controllers

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  • Re:Yay! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by blackraven14250 ( 902843 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @11:22AM (#31734274)
    M$ isn't a patent troll in this case. They invented the damned controller for XBox, which Datel copied patented portions of!
  • Re:Ok, really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Liquidrage ( 640463 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @11:26AM (#31734350)
    Having looked a little deeper, the patent claim is all about those items in regards to the Xbox, which they hold patents for. Not just a controller with lights. But one for their system. This is basically, "If you want to build stuff for the system we patented, you need to license that from us".
  • by grapeape ( 137008 ) <mpope7.kc@rr@com> on Monday April 05, 2010 @11:31AM (#31734420) Homepage

    Datel has been sued 3 times in less than a year...by Sony over their battery tool, Microsoft over the controller and a pending suit by Nintendo over the action replay (which uses stolen code from Nintendo). Even the open source community should find it hard to support Datel after proving they have no problem stealing from them as well (with the pandora battery they weren't even smart enough about it to remove comments). Consumers get screwed as well when they find cheap products they purchased no longer work once the holes are plugged and devices are rendered useless (PSP and DS action replays to be specfic). This is an attempt to stop 3rd parties, all 3 have licensing available for that, its about stopping a rather unscrupulous company that will stop at nothing to rip off manufacturers and consumers alike.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @11:36AM (#31734476) Journal
    Why? I'd think something like RSA is more worthy of a patent than 'a controller that lights up'.
  • Strange arguement (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 05, 2010 @11:39AM (#31734516)

    Consumers get screwed as well when they find cheap products they purchased no longer work once the holes are plugged and devices are rendered useless

    I find it a strange argument that Datel is bad because when the companies figure out how to stop allowing their device to interface with the Datel ones the consumer's product is devalued. Seems that one should be upset with the device companies removing functionality from their (purchased) devices all for a money grab.

  • Re:Yay! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 05, 2010 @11:51AM (#31734722)

    Exactly what did they invent?

    The XBOX 360 controller.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @12:05PM (#31734914) Journal

    If Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft didn't lock down their devices, Datel wouldn't have to sell lock picks to restore control of these devices to their owners. Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft are the bad guys here.

    Obviously Datel should credit the authors of the Pandora battery software. But otherwise, their products serve a need (which has been ignored or refused by the manufacturers). When the manufacturers disable these device, blame them, not Datel.

  • Re:Yay! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Areyoukiddingme ( 1289470 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @12:08PM (#31734946)

    Designed, sure. Invented? That word, I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • Re:Yay! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RichardJenkins ( 1362463 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @12:20PM (#31735150)

    I suspect that the creative ingenuity and engineering effort involved in solving this problem is *not* sufficient to warrant a monopoly on putting little lights on a game controller. Being the first person to do something useful shouldn't give you a right to prevent other people copying it.

    Now, if there was some major hurdle to adding lights to a game controller I hadn't realised, and Microsoft have somehow solved it: patent away!

  • by rtfa-troll ( 1340807 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @12:27PM (#31735260)

    Something like RSA is certainly more important, more worthy, and in many ways better than an Xbox games controller but that doesn't mean it's more patentable.

    There are a number of fundamental things wrong with "software" patents. Firstly, software is fundamentally just ideas that you can do in your head. Anything a computer can do is something you can do but just much quicker. A patent on that is directly a patent on an idea; is a fundamental breach of freedom of thought and through that on freedom of speech. Pure software patents should be eliminated, possibly criminalised.

    A second, more practical difference is that software is intangable. Software ls much more malleable and copyable. Many different ideas come up, are used and abandoned. The original and non-obvious tests just leave far too many things that are patentable. Because there's no obvious "thing" which actually achieves a particular physical transformation, software patents end up either far too broad, covering many different variants each of which would have a separate hardware patent, or too narrow, covering a thing which can only be valuable if you force others to use it by incorporating it into some communications standard. There's can be no happy obvious way to define the limits of a software patent.

    RSA, is a particular example where a patent is really bad because it is fundamentally a patent on basic mathematics. Mathematics has never been patentable, never should have been patentable and has been proven to advance fine without any need for a patent system. Mathematics is also, in some sense "discovered" rather than invented. There just isn't the right trade off to justify such patents and no real philosophical way to justify ownership of such ideas.

  • by Dread Pirate Skippy ( 963698 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @12:55PM (#31735670)
    I love all the insightful comments people are making on this article. It's nice to know folks are making sure their positions are valid, not just deciding that Microsoft is always wrong, and that this is no exception. Anyway, the patents are all valid and Datel is clearly at fault, unless prior art exists that proves the patents are invalid in the first place, which is unlikely. MS is not claiming to have invented controllers or lights on controllers, that's stupid and you're stupid for thinking it. All six patents mentioned in the article are design patents. They have nothing to do with the actual functionality of the controller. Rather, they've patented the 'ornamental design for an object having practical utility', like the shape of a Coca-Cola bottle, or a new font. If I create a font and obtain a design patent, I'm not claiming to have invented text, only to have made a cosmetic change that does not have any impact on the functionality of the original invention. Even that PS3 controller that some other poster linked above infringes, because the design is what's in question, NOT the functionality.
  • Not in Best Buy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tepples ( 727027 ) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Monday April 05, 2010 @12:59PM (#31735740) Homepage Journal

    you are always free to skip the device and buy something else. If your looking for totally open solutions there are things like Pandora, Gamepark, etc.

    Why don't I ever see major-label titles for any totally open platform other than the PC? Must I carry two devices, one exclusively for major-label games and one exclusively for indie games? And why don't I ever see any totally open platform other than the PC for sale in Best Buy?

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @02:35PM (#31737942) Journal

    If as a gamer your not willing to accept their sandbox, you are always free to skip the device and buy something else.

    I'm also free to unlock my property and use it as I see fit.

  • No they aren't (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @06:59AM (#31746206)

    No they aren't: it's not THEIR device any more. If they relock it, then that is computer trespass and illegal.

Do not underestimate the value of print statements for debugging.