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Microsoft Launches Legal Battle Against UK-based Datel

Microsoft has announced its intention to sue Datel Design and Development for what the software giant say is an infringement by the UK-based company of a number of patents that it holds.

The suit was filed in the Western District of Washington and details the products that have been released by Datel - Turbofire and Wildfire - as well as the patents that they allegedly infringe on.

Four of them - 521,015, D522,011, D547,763 and D581,422 - relate to "portions of a gaming controller", another two, D563,480 and D565,668 cover a "portion of a gaming input device having an illuminated region"

Microsoft also claims that the devices sold by Datel are clones of the official Xbox 360 peripherals marketed by Microsoft. The latter is seeking undisclosed amount of financial damages.

Obviously, the first question we'd ask is whether the case has anything to do with the lawsuit filed by Datel Design and Development against Microsoft and accusing it of preventing third-party accessories from being used with the Xbox 360 gaming console.

Datel submitted the legal papers to Microsoft and its legal team back in November 2009 and came after Microsoft had decided to block third party cards, a step which affected around 50,000 Xbox/Datel users.

Obviously, the balance is entirely on Microsoft's side and this could potentially have a devastating impact on the very survival of Datel.

It also reminds us of the current tussle going on between Nokia and Apple, both companies having accused each other of infringing their respective patents.

Our Comments

It is not the first time that Microsoft has decided to lock a competitor out of a market. One of the most famous cases has to be when it made Windows 3.x incompatible with Digital Research's DR-DOS operating system, so that the "operating system" could only be installed on MS-DOS.

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