Microsoft and Datel finally make nice: Xbox 360-related lawsuits settled

Video Game Law Blog

January 11, 2012

Datel Design & Development and Microsoft have buried the hatchet, settling their respective anti-trust and patent-infringement lawsuits against each other in relation to the Xbox 360 system. The companies have been battling it out in the courts since 2009.

In November 2009, Datel (based in the UK) sued Microsoft after the Seattle-based software giant released an updated Xbox 360 – a version which did not allow for non-Microsoft authorized storage devices and third-party memory cards. Datel, creator of the popular Max Memory cards, accused Microsoft of "predatory conduct", and filed an anti-trust suit in San Francisco, claiming that Microsoft had "deliberately harmed competition", and had attempted to render inoperable the Max Memory card for "no visible purpose other than to have that market entirely to themselves", according to a press release issued by Datel at the time.

Microsoft turned around and filed a patent suit against Datel the following year in Seattle federal court, claiming that Datel's Turbofire and WildFire controllers infringed Microsoft's Xbox 360 controller patent (which covered a protocol for peripheral devices used with a wireless gaming console).

Datel subsequently stopped importing its TurboFire2 Xbox 360 Wireless version into the US (which had also been the subject of a complaint before the US International Trade Commission), and also redesigned the offending controllers. In August 2011, Microsoft withdrew its suit against Datel – though it still sought compensatory damages for Datel's past infringement.

The terms of the settlements are obviously confidential, though a Microsoft spokesperson reportedly stated that the terms were "to the satisfaction of both parties".

For more info, go to Gamasutra and Bloomberg.