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Microsoft Patents The Courts XBox (Games) Games

ITC Investigates Xbox 360 After Motorola Complaint 71

FlorianMueller writes "The US International Trade Commission, which is increasingly popular as a patent enforcement agency, voted to investigate a complaint filed by Motorola against Microsoft last month. Motorola claims that the Xbox infringes five of its patents. In October, Microsoft complained against Motorola, alleging patent infringement by its Android-based smartphones. Apple, Nokia and HTC are also involved with ITC investigations as complainants and respondents. A new one-page overview document shows the ongoing ITC investigations related to smartphones and the products that the complainants would like to have banned from entry into the US market. The good news is that any import bans won't be ordered until long after Christmas. The ITC is faster than courts, but not that fast."
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ITC Investigates Xbox 360 After Motorola Complaint

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  • by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 22, 2010 @04:49AM (#34639030)

    While patents, on the one hand, provide a measured amount of protection against aggressive and litigious competitors, they are only useful in bulk. This leaves many little guys hamstrung and at the whim of big guys like Motorola and Microsoft. Here we see to goliaths go at each other, and it's interesting because both sides have deep patent portfolios that they can wield against each other. The ultimate solution will be some sort of cross licensing deal, no doubt.

    But for the little guy, a company like Microsoft can extinguish in short order due to a limited amount of leverage. Where Moto can respond with a set of infringed patents, the little guy won't have that type of MAD defensive position. As a result, the big guys get bigger, and the little guys get snuffed, and the consumers get screwed.

    Patents were meant to foster competition and promote a plethora of ideas. It has not done that at all in the software sphere. Perhaps it is time to rethink the whole software patent system.

  • by grantek ( 979387 ) on Wednesday December 22, 2010 @05:14AM (#34639136)

    Part of the problem is that one patented idea/process/implementation isn't enough to do anything in today's world - a system like a game console or smartphone is built on thousands of patentable components.

  • by AlecC ( 512609 ) <aleccawley@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 22, 2010 @05:52AM (#34639234)

    Patents exist to motivate inventors to invent, and then to put the inventions into the public domain after a due period.

    Would any of these companies have decided not to develop their phones, and hence do the R&D that led to these patents, if there had been no patent system? I very much doubt it. And the fact that the other companies are, allegedly, infringing means that the first inventor has not been able to keep it secret - or, as is often the case, the idea was "in the air" as a result of the way the industry was developing.

    The patent system is severely broken for the IT industry as it now is. For the industry as a whole, it is a zero sum game: no R&D is being done because the developer hopes to profit from license fees. On the contrary, it is a burden because to the time and effort filing patents, the effort of working around other people's patents, and the cost of fighting patent wars or negotiating patent armistices. Of course, interested parties (patent lawyers, including trolls, and the Patent Offices, insist that it is invaluable. But show me an engineer who would not like the whole thing swept away. (I speak only for the IT industry, though I think it apples much more widely).

  • Re:Well (Score:3, Insightful)

    by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Wednesday December 22, 2010 @06:57AM (#34639512) Journal
    This is what happens when you sue Motorola over Cellular phone software patents. Motorola invented, among other things, the Cellular phone. They have tens of thousands of patents in real hardware. They haven't been playing this game because they're civilized and gracious. But if you're going to get that stupid, they're ready to take you to school. In the end this is going to rank in the top ten of the dumbest things Microsoft has ever done - probably above acquiring Danger, Inc.
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday December 22, 2010 @08:56AM (#34640076) Homepage

    It's built by Thousands of "should not be patented" components.

    Honestly, If I buy your company's chips to make a product, YOU CANT SUE ME FOR PATENT INFRINGEMENT FOR USING YOUR PRODUCT!

    Patent law ,like copyright law has gone spiraling out of control to the point that it's all useless bullshit designed to do nothing but provide extortion leverage against your competition.

    Three is NOTHING in the Xbox360 that violates a Motorola patent. Just like how there is NOTHING in a Android phone that violates a MSFT patent.

    It's just a bunch of immature assholes that dont play well with others sitting in the sandbox screaming and crying over the yellow truck, while a blue and red truck that are IDENTICAL are sitting unused.

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev