Microsoft Sues Datel Over 360 Controllers

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
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Microsoft Sues Datel Over 360 Controllers


Datel [http://www.microsoft.com], claiming that two of its controllers are a little too close to Microsoft's own Xbox 360 controllers for comfort.

Microsoft filed suit in the U.S. District Court for Western Washington, claiming that the Datel "WildFire [http://uk.codejunkies.com/Products/Xbox-360-Wildfire-Wired-Controller__EF000840v.aspx]" and "TurboFire" controllers for the Xbox 360 infringe on several of Microsoft patents. The company is asking for compensatory damages including Datel's profits from sales of the two devices, plus interest and costs, as well as an injunction against "further acts of infringement."

"We have a robust licensing program that ensures high standards and contributes to a great experience for the Xbox gamer community," Microsoft spokesman Kevin Kutz said in a statement. "We have a responsibility to protect that program and the companies that are part of it, as well as our own intellectual property."

Microsoft's action follows closely behind Datel's own lawsuit against Microsoft [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/96313-Microsoft-Sued-for-Locking-Out-Third-Party-Memory-Cards] over steps it took to make Datel's after-market memory cards for the Xbox 360 incompatible with the console. Microsoft's memory cards top out at 512 mb, while Datel's run as high as 4 gb, but in a November Dashboard update Microsoft disabled third-party memory card compatibility on the 360. "Microsoft has taken steps to render inoperable the competing Datel memory card for no visible purpose than to have that market entirely to themselves," Datel's attorney said in a statement. "We believe that with the power Microsoft enjoys in the market for Xbox accessories this conduct is unlawful."

Anyone else smell a settlement coming?

Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer [http://blog.seattlepi.com/microsoft/archives/200339.asp]


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Jack and Calumon

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Dec 29, 2008
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I smell Microsoft losing as that Controller looks more like Lego than a normal controller.

Calumon: I like Lego, but Jack hates it as I don't clean up after myself.
 

Jared

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Jul 14, 2009
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That is a little too close..No wonder Microsfot went straight for the jugular.

Gotta love the world of corporate bull...
 

BigEaZyE

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Sep 10, 2008
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The real reason is probably to combat the 'Turbo Rapid Fire' function on the controllers that give players an unfair advantage in games like Modern Warfare 2. Frankly I agree with that completely

'Programmable Turbo Rapid Fire

The Wildfire controller?s secret weapon is its programmable Turbo Rapid Fire that can be enabled on any one or more of 8 buttons, giving you a firepower advantage that can make all the difference. Just start the programming, choose which buttons you want to use Rapid Fire on and set the Turbo Rapid Fire mode. The WildFire controller has three selectable speed profiles ensuring usage of Rapid Fire with the widest range of games. With rapid fire enabled, weapons like single shot pistols in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, become lethal, fully automatic weapons that can empty a clip on an enemy in a second!
 

Outlaw Torn

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Dec 24, 2008
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Good to see Microsoft still giving their 'valued' customers a wide variety of peripherals to choose from, as long as they are the expensive official ones of course.
 

ZeLunarian

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Best outcome would be a counter-suit to make the first lawsuit feel inadequate. To which I doubt Microsoft would be all that hurt from. :3
But alas. Microsoft would probably just kick ass and put many 3rd party controller creating employees out of work. Too bad, we do not have a perfect world~
 

Epitome

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Jul 17, 2009
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Never bought the third party arguement. Microsoft built the Xbox, they were the ones who invested in the R&D adn manufacture and licensing. They are entitled to all profit involved in the Xbox francise, if Datel dont liek it they should try building a global console.
 

Chechosaurus

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Let it go Microsoft.

Has anyone ever played with a non-official controller before? It's like walking into your house one day and seeing that all of your furniture has been moved two and half feet to the left. It's still the same house and basically the same layout but it doesn't feel quite right and the sofa doesn't respond when you sit on it....

I had a PS2 rip-off one once and I binned it after a week, bit the bullet and bought a proper one. It had a "slow-mo" button on it that paused and un-paused the screen really quickly to make it feel like you were moving in slow-motion. Suffice to say, it was crap.
 

Outlaw Torn

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Epitome said:
Never bought the third party arguement. Microsoft built the Xbox, they were the ones who invested in the R&D adn manufacture and licensing. They are entitled to all profit involved in the Xbox francise, if Datel dont liek it they should try building a global console.
So you're saying that only Microsoft should be able to make any hardware to go with their consoles, giving you no choice in controller? You're also stuck with whatever price MS decide to charge, given their track record it will be several times the GDP of Switzerland more than a third party controller.

Sure, it looks similar, but should Datel be required to make the controller look like a pineapple for it to be sufficiently different to the official one?
 

sephiroth1991

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It's a contoller they likely to design ones that are similer to others so people can get used to them right away
 

DeadlyYellow

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BigEaZyE said:
The real reason is probably to combat the 'Turbo Rapid Fire' function on the controllers that give players an unfair advantage in games like Modern Warfare 2.
Humor me here. How exactly does turbo fire up the ante when using an automatic?

As for the topic in general, I'm going to have to agree with Commander Breetai.
 

InvisibleSeal

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May 3, 2009
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I really can't see microsoft winning - I mean the point of third party controllers is to avoid a monopoly in that market. Besides, of course the controllers would be similar! They have to have the same buttons to work, and therefore have to have some similarity else no one would ever be able to use them.
 

BigEaZyE

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DeadlyYellow said:
BigEaZyE said:
The real reason is probably to combat the 'Turbo Rapid Fire' function on the controllers that give players an unfair advantage in games like Modern Warfare 2.
Humor me here. How exactly does turbo fire up the ante when using an automatic?

As for the topic in general, I'm going to have to agree with Commander Breetai.
It doesn't. What it DOES do is make it so that you can fire single shot weapons as if they were automatic, I.E. Pistols in Modern Warfare 2, which it clearly states as one of the feature's main goals on the product page
 

Quadtrix

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At least Microsoft got a taste of their own medicine when they lost the case involving Word.
 

SharedProphet

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BigEaZyE said:
The real reason is probably to combat the 'Turbo Rapid Fire' function on the controllers that give players an unfair advantage in games like Modern Warfare 2. Frankly I agree with that completely

'Programmable Turbo Rapid Fire

The Wildfire controller?s secret weapon is its programmable Turbo Rapid Fire that can be enabled on any one or more of 8 buttons, giving you a firepower advantage that can make all the difference. Just start the programming, choose which buttons you want to use Rapid Fire on and set the Turbo Rapid Fire mode. The WildFire controller has three selectable speed profiles ensuring usage of Rapid Fire with the widest range of games. With rapid fire enabled, weapons like single shot pistols in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, become lethal, fully automatic weapons that can empty a clip on an enemy in a second!
The business and legal departments at Microsoft don't care whether you can use a controller to get an advantage in a video game. They want the licensing money, and want Datel to drop the third-party memory card suit. I suspect the newly announced USB drive support coming this month is also related.

On another note, everything on that controller looks to be lower quality than the Microsoft ones... except the D-pad.
 

Epitome

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Outlaw Torn said:
Epitome said:
Never bought the third party arguement. Microsoft built the Xbox, they were the ones who invested in the R&D adn manufacture and licensing. They are entitled to all profit involved in the Xbox francise, if Datel dont liek it they should try building a global console.
So you're saying that only Microsoft should be able to make any hardware to go with their consoles, giving you no choice in controller? You're also stuck with whatever price MS decide to charge, given their track record it will be several times the GDP of Switzerland more than a third party controller.

Sure, it looks similar, but should Datel be required to make the controller look like a pineapple for it to be sufficiently different to the official one?
Microdofts mark up on controllers has to go toward the cost of r&d and production, Datel gets to cutin on teh profit without contributing to teh gigantic overheads that Microsoft had to incur and Microsoft risked failure whereas Datel has a premade market If you dont like the cost of Microsoft controllers then thats fine dont buy one. think if nobody bought the 360 which was produced at a loss for years and Microsoft didnt make back their investment then who would be making the next generation of consoles?
 

shMerker

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Oct 24, 2007
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BigEaZyE said:
DeadlyYellow said:
BigEaZyE said:
The real reason is probably to combat the 'Turbo Rapid Fire' function on the controllers that give players an unfair advantage in games like Modern Warfare 2.
Humor me here. How exactly does turbo fire up the ante when using an automatic?

As for the topic in general, I'm going to have to agree with Commander Breetai.
It doesn't. What it DOES do is make it so that you can fire single shot weapons as if they were automatic, I.E. Pistols in Modern Warfare 2, which it clearly states as one of the feature's main goals on the product page
That's a problem that can be solved much more easily within the software by just limiting how many fire commands will be accepted on a non-automatic weapon. PC games have to do this because PC developers have no control over hardware (or even a lot of the software) so the best they can do is code defensively and level the playing field.

Microsoft is doing this because the consoles have a small (or even negative) profit margin which they make up for by selling accessories and games. If there are unlicensed third party accessories available then they lose access to any customers who are satisfied with the third party peripherals.
 

Captain Pancake

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Microsoft are a bunch of snivelling little children, crossed with a greedy fat old man. Dear god, sometimes I look at my xbox and I see what's wrong with the world.
 

Woodsey

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Commander Breetai said:
By "...a little too close to Microsoft's own Xbox 360 controllers for comfort", you mean they function on an Xbox 360?

It's called a third-party controller. That's what third party controllers do. What rock have you been hiding under for the last twenty years? Oh that's right, you were stealing programs to integrate into Windows.

Fuck you, Microsoft.
"Stealing programs" ?

OT: I can see where they're both coming from - MS have rendered something they've created legally unsellable, and they've created a near identical gamepad.