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Lucent Sues Microsoft, Wants All 360s Recalled 475

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the we-did-it-first dept.
robyannetta writes "Lucent has filed a lawsuit against Microsoft, demanding that they pull all Xbox 360s from the market. Lucent claims that Microsoft has violated their MPEG2 patents which they claim they patented in 1993." While it's unlikely console will be pulled from shelves, it's one way to generate some publicity.
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Lucent Sues Microsoft, Wants All 360s Recalled

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  • no value whatsoever. lot's like this comment
    • by afaik_ianal (918433) * on Friday April 07, 2006 @01:03AM (#15082182)
      Yep, the linked article is unfortunately pretty light on both detail and factual accuracy. A much better source of information, with a reference to Lucent's patent is available here: http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=30743 [theinquirer.net].

      The patent being disputed is available here [uspto.gov]

      Still, the original GamerNode link for this story is an amusing read, with gems such as, "Lucent claims that Microsoft has violated copyright patent laws". Uh.. What is a 'copyright patent law'? Are they trying to say that Lucent has the copyright on the patent laws? Or are they just confused about the difference between these two relatively unrelated concepts?
      • From the patent:

        a means responsive to the digital video input signal for producing a field frame coding type signal which directs a selected one, but not both, of the frame coding means or the field coding means to code the digital video input signal.

        Wait, let me see if I'm reading this right. They're going after people who use MPEG2 because they patented the interlace bit? You've gotta be out of your freaking mind! Can anyone really own a patent to add a single bit to a frame that says 0=progressiv

    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday April 07, 2006 @01:08AM (#15082218) Journal
      If you had RTFA, you'd realize that their goal might not be to really get the Xbox360 pulled.

      What would make the most sense (from a business perspective) is to force a settlement that involves a cash payout and licensing.

      Licensing is like mana from heaven for companies. It represents a long term income stream that can only add to the value of the company and the value of their patent.

      I can't imagine that Lucent wants an honest (and drawn out) court case.
      • If you had RTFA, you'd realize that their goal might not be to really get the Xbox360 pulled.

        I managed to take the 3 seconds to RTFA. The passage you mention is simply an editorial add-on from this presumably Sony affiliated gamer site. They have no more knowledge of Lucent's intentions than anyone here. Though, no lawsuit is filed with the intention of having a product pulled from the shelves. There is no profit in that. My guess is Lucent wants a big pay day and they hope M$ will simply pay up bec

      • The console can't be pulled from the shelves if there are none on the shelves to begin with.

        BTW do Lucent have any ties with Sony?
  • by GreenPlastikMan (881184) on Friday April 07, 2006 @12:57AM (#15082127)
    (I am not a lawyer...yet)

    Didn't Lucent just get merged/sucked up by another company (Alcatel?)

    In any case, generally speaking, RIM lawsuit aside, it is highly unusual for cases like this actually to go to trial. But even if Lucent were to win, isn't MPEG2 a software thing? Asking for a recall seems frivolous considering you can just do as software...um...downgrade(?)

    In any case, where was Lucent's patent on MPEG2 when all this technology became popular in all kinds of other goodies? This couldn't have anything to do with the fact that Micro$oft has roughly 40 billion Dollars in actual Cash, could it? If you don't enforce your patents and wait for a big fish you risk losing your ability to enforce the patent for lack of policing, also there may be laches defense for failure to file the lawsuit sooner, though that seems less likely as final specs weren't out so long ago that Lucent would have had reasonable timeframe to do any due diligence. Anyone know what the statute of limitations, or laches defense timeframe is on a patent claim?

    *shrug*

    Lucent to get some weird Vista perk in 3...2...1...
    • by pavera (320634) on Friday April 07, 2006 @01:00AM (#15082160) Homepage Journal
      You like most other slashdot folks are mixing your metaphors, or IP jargon. Trademarks must be inforced or you lose them, patents not so much. You can selectively enforce patents all you want. The "statute of limitations" on patents is 24 years, or however long patents are good for now... As long as your patent is valid you can sue infringers of that patent.
      • It's 20 years [uspto.gov] I do believe.
      • by _Ludwig (86077) on Friday April 07, 2006 @01:36AM (#15082325) Journal
        Not exactly. Google the "laches defense" parent mentioned. Yes, patents can be selectively enforced, but you can't knowingly allow an infringer to continue violating your patent in order to make them a juicier target before bringing action.
    • But even if Lucent were to win, isn't MPEG2 a software thing? Asking for a recall seems frivolous considering you can just do as software...um...downgrade(?)

      Not necessarily. I don't know what the situation is regarding the Xbox 360, but it used to be common to include MPEG decoding hardware. I believe that consumer DVD players do so.

      Even if not, it could be in ROMs or something else.

      But, really, when it comes down to it, Lucent just wants to get its fingers into the pie.
    • by kfg (145172)
      isn't MPEG2 a software thing?

      MPEG is a codec. If you implement it in software it's a software thing.

      If you implement it in hardware, like a DVD player, or 360, well, it's not.

      KFG
    • by dbIII (701233) on Friday April 07, 2006 @03:17AM (#15082581)
      RIM lawsuit aside ...
      Let me be the first to suggest a new name for this type of patent abuse solely to screw over other companies - RIMMING.
    • In any case, generally speaking, RIM lawsuit aside, it is highly unusual for cases like this actually to go to trial. But even if Lucent were to win, isn't MPEG2 a software thing? Asking for a recall seems frivolous considering you can just do as software...um...downgrade(?)

      How about simply posting a letter to each (known) XBOX owner, stating:

      Due to the US Patent Office fucking up again, you cannot legally watch DVD's on your XBOX. Doing so means that you are no better than any other kind of Intellec

  • by Falcon040 (915278) on Friday April 07, 2006 @12:57AM (#15082129)
    It shows the continuing problems of patents. Although patents were initially intended to stop techniques being kept secret or lost from the public or King in England, then extended with the intentions to assist the small inventor to protect itself from larger predators, it has done neither of these.

    Patents are mainly used by the large companies to keep out competition. Competition being the only great thing that produces innovation and efficiency in a competitive capitalist economy that has served the world so well.

    While patents continue to be a hindrance on new entrants to the market, Copyright and Design law, in additiona to Trademark law continues to help protecting innovation and innovative products while maintaining a
    competitive capitalist economy, where continued competitiveness in a fair market is the most important factor contributing to a nation's lead in the world.
    • I'm sure this has been said 9.7 * 10^24 times, Copyright law now does nothing of the sort. Infact it could be argued that if anything current copyright law stifles innovation because there is no drive to innovate when your copyright will last your lifetime + 95 years.
      • by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Friday April 07, 2006 @01:57AM (#15082401) Homepage
        Copyright law certainly does encourage creation of works -- what is bad is the ridiculously long periods for which copyrights are now granted. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

        I'm an artist/writer, my girlfriend is an artist/writer, we're friends with many, many other creative professionals. Every one of us is able to do what we do precisely because we can pay the bills, sell our work, and have it not be manipulated by others or outright stolen (on any large commercial scale).

        That said, I don't know many creative professionals who think we need "protection" for decades after we're in the grave. While the original 14-year period of copyright might be ludicrously short for modern use (since oftentimes, especially when producing a series, it will only become commercially successful 10 or 20 years into the project), the idea that what we create will be disallowed as source material for several generations of future creators is equally ludicrous. As Picasso said, Good artists borrow, great artists steal. After a certain period, the works themselves become a part of culture that needs to be commented on through art, and saying that this arbitrary part of common culture should be off-limits is damaging to all.
        • I'm for very limited copyright terms, but do understand your concerns.

          What I don't understand is why all works need to have copyright protection for the same amount of time. Yes, your series of novels might need more than 14 years protection, but software certainly doesn't. Windows 1.0 was released in 1985. Does that need as much protection as a novel, a piece of art, etc.? I'd actually like to know how much business MS does in Windows 1.0 these days. Hell, how much business does MS do in any of their
          • Using this argument, Duke Nukem Forever would need three five-year extensions, and its not even out yet ;P
        • by Shihar (153932) on Friday April 07, 2006 @05:24AM (#15082891)
          Personally, I liked the original US system of copyright. It was almost perfect. If I recall correctly you could register creative material for a 14 year copyright. The default was that copy write was an opt-in system. In the current system, EVERYTHING is copyright by default. This fucking message is copyright. After the first 14 years was up, you could renew for another 14. The idea was that only stuff that was worth copywriting was copyright, and that it was for a LIMITED amount of time. With copyright laws as they are, they might as well be forever. ...yeah, someone has been reading FreeCulture...

          As far as patents, they are an entirely different beast. The biggest issue I have with patents are the mind numbingly low bar they have set to get an idea patented. Further, they also tend to scoop very wide swaths of "ideas" that have little to do with the original idea. The entire idea that you can patent business models and methods is infuriating. Speaking as someone who has been involved in getting things patented, the entire system is completely fucked. Don't get me wrong, I am all for patents. Patents do serve a very useful purpose and do indeed help innovation. I just am not a fan of the way they are set up now.

          I really have no problem with blowing a billion dollars to develop a new drug and getting a patent for it for a few years. That encourages innovation. Without that patent, they would be leery about spending so much money on developing novel new drugs. On the other hand, you have dumb shit like how a cereal bar have patents on "mixing different cereals" and filling a bowl 1/3 the way with milk. Patents in such cases are destroying innovation, not helping it.

          I think the point people miss is that patents and copyright are NOT there to compensate IP holders or even the creators. They are there to encourage innovation and nothing more. When the law starts throwing wrenches in the cogs of innovation, the system is failing.
    • by gameforge (965493) on Friday April 07, 2006 @01:22AM (#15082284) Journal
      I personally like how John Carmack relates software patents to getting mugged... to state loosely what he said, you think of the patent system as being in place to help the poor inventor guy who spends his whole life working on his one little invention, and then some large billion dollar company comes along and steals the idea and gets rich, leaving no credit to him. In that case, patents are great.

      But if five companies hire five programmers to set out and do the exact same thing, the first one to make it to the patent office takes the cake and everyone else gets sucked into the legal blackhole (or just goes home with their tail between their legs).

      It's definitely time to revisit our patent laws regarding technology; the industry moves too fast - patents like this literally stop innovation and cause consumers to pay out the ass for everything.

      I agree that copyrights are a little more reasonable; it should be illegal to clone the next guy's solution; but it should not be illegal to solve the same problem.
    • I agree with most of what you have to say. Despite me not being a fan of Microsoft's business practices. (And seemingly just finding ways around settlements/agreements to continue this behaviour.) I don't believe Microsoft should have their 360 console removes from market and recalled due to a patent infringement. At most MS should have to pay a whopping fine (and license fee) if the patent infringement is proven true. Patents should not be a tool used to disembowel a company, similarly patents should have
    • by syousef (465911) on Friday April 07, 2006 @02:12AM (#15082445) Journal
      Bzzzzzt. Wrong. No.

      Patents are flawed.
      Copyright law is flawed.
      Trademark law is flawed.

      All 3 are very artificial means of attempting to return value to a creator for his or her work. All 3 counteract themselves and increase the problems they're intended to solve.

      We need to ditch the existing systems and find a way to compensate creators and inventors without hindering the public's ability to use their creations. Specifically any form of compensation must allow things that are easily copied to be easily copied legally and without artificial restriciton (ie no DRM).

      Before some arrogant fool comes back with a Wikipedia link to Communism like the last time I posted something similar to this, I'm not talking about a political system, and I'm not talking about group ownership of anything. I'm talking about a system of compensation that depends on the use of a product rather than possessing a copy of it. I'm not saying I have all the technical solutions for this.
      • by jnadke (907188) on Friday April 07, 2006 @02:37AM (#15082507)
        It's called honesty [wikipedia.org].
      • by Ambassador Kosh (18352) on Friday April 07, 2006 @06:24AM (#15082991)
        Copyrights and Patents I totally agree with you on.

        What is wrong with Trademarks though? I always though of trademarks as something like forcing companies to tell a limited ammount of the truth. Ie Pepsi can't make a drink and call it Coke and make it look like a coke can etc. It means that when I buy a Panasonic device that is what it is. It is not something else that anyone can just put that name on it.

        I don't think that people should be able to call their products by the name of some other product and even make them look the same. It makes it far too hard to find what you are looking for if people can do that.
        • by john-da-luthrun (876866) on Friday April 07, 2006 @07:18AM (#15083097)

          The trade mark system (I'm British, so "trade mark" is two words) is pretty broken in many respects, precisely because it has moved beyond the common-sense "guarantee of origin" for which trade marks were originally intended.

          Two key problems with the trade mark system:

          1. Excessive breadth of coverage: people obtain trade mark registrations covering a wide range of goods and services, which locks other people out of using a similar name even where there's no real risk of confusion. As with spurious patents, an excessively wide trade mark can be challenged, but (also as with spurious patents) that's an expensive and time-consuming process.

          2. Excessive breadth of enforceability: sure, we don't want any Pepsi selling something called "Coca Cola" (parent's example given of "Coke" actually begs the question - I'm not sure Coca Cola would risk enforcing that against Pepsi because of the risk of revocation as a "generic" name). But trade mark infringement increasingly covers more nebulous concepts of "brand dilution" and so on. So for example, the infamous 90s cases involving websites like "AOLsucks.com", and the UK case in which Arsenal Football Club prevented a guy from selling unofficial Arsenal scarves from his front garden - using trade marks to force fans to pay for the overpriced official merchandise.

          So trade marks, like patents, add risk and expense to start-ups and smaller businesses (who may find it hard to choose a compelling name that has not already been registered, however spuriously), can be exploited for anti-competitive ends, and can be used to stifle free expression. And it all comes down to the same issue: an originally-sensible means of protecting legitimate interests, that gradually gets pushed further and further by the lobbying of vested interests until it ends up threatening the very interests it was originally intended to protect.

          • by ajs (35943) <ajs@ a j s . c om> on Friday April 07, 2006 @08:44AM (#15083348) Homepage Journal
            Absolutely disagree with the football example.

            There needs to be equal protection. Just because you're a giant corporation and I'm one person, you should get no special treatment, be it positive or negative. You don't get to stomp on my rights, and I don't get to stomp on yours (yes, we gave corporations rights in the US in the late 1800s, and in the rest of the world in the mid-20th century... get over it, it's not going to change).

            Trademarks on backwards "R"s need to be stopped, but overall trademark works fine.

            Copyright works pretty well, but really needs to be limited. My theory on this one would be to make copyright 20 years with an automatic (but explicit, so that it could be looked up) extension for any work which continued to be published for up to 100 years. This means Steamboat Willie gets 100 years of protection, but folk music published in the 1980s and then never re-published would be coming into the public domain now.

            Patents are a bear. I agree that the core idea makes sense. A physical widget like a new kind of wiper blade needs to be protectable, but I don't like:
            • the way patent ownership is handled
            • the difficulty in knowning if something is covered
            • the shift of burden from the applicant to the courts in terms of defending a patent
            • the variable duration of patents because of international agreements
            • coverage of business models, math and algorithms, etc.
            Much of this could be fixed by making patents associate only with an individual, with no transferability and placing a public peer-review process into the end of the approval timeline.
          • ... and the UK case in which Arsenal Football Club prevented a guy from selling unofficial Arsenal scarves from his front garden - using trade marks to force fans to pay for the overpriced official merchandise.

            Forcing fans? No. They chose to purchase overpriced merchandise. If it ever becomes required to purchase a football t-shirt to work in a bakery, or go down to the pub and lift a pint, let me know. Then we can make a case for economic coercion.

            Selling overpriced t-shirts is pure capitalism.

          • 1. Excessive breadth of coverage: people obtain trade mark registrations covering a wide range of goods and services, which locks other people out of using a similar name even where there's no real risk of confusion. As with spurious patents, an excessively wide trade mark can be challenged, but (also as with spurious patents) that's an expensive and time-consuming process.


            I think this is just a mis-statement of the law, at least as it exists in the US. Now, I am not a lawyer nor a trademark law expert, but my understanding is that trademarks are limited in scope by geography and type of business. So for instance, the United Parcel Service has a trademark on the color brown, but only in the context of being a worldwide delivery service. If you wanted to use brown trucks for your plumbing service, you go right ahead. Likewise, Sew Fast, Sew Easy probably (hopefully!) loses any trademark claims [cafepress.com] that they actually file against ad hoc knitting groups, because their trademark is on a shop in NYC and an online presence for a knitting store.

            Frivolous litigation is not a problem unique to the so-called "intellectual property" rights. You see it in tort, contract, real estate, and every other area of the law. No amount of IP reform will eliminate the problem of frivolous and oppresive litigation.
  • by dcapel (913969) on Friday April 07, 2006 @12:57AM (#15082130) Homepage
    Just because it is MS does not change the fact that this is a patent-system absurdity, another reason why it should be overhauled. People are surprised when huge companies with an enormous portfolio of patents want reform; this is the reason the companies want it: they can't do the Mutually Assured Destruction scheme against small companies like they can eachother. One small company with a stupid patent can hold a company hostage.

    I hate MS as much as the next slashdotter, but this evil is so bad we do not even wish it upon them. Abuse is abuse.

    If you really want to follow the slashdot paradigm, then mod me down for my pro-ish MS remarks.
    • Just because it is MS does not change the fact that this is a patent-system absurdity, another reason why it should be overhauled.

      Yet Microsoft continues to apply for frivolous patents and Ballmer hints at launching patent suits again competing OS [slashdot.org] that just happen to have their source code open for all to see. Gee, I wonder how many patent violations Windows has in its closed up proprietary self. We can only speculate unfortunately...

    • Did you just call Lucent, a global company with a $14-billion market-cap, small?
    • Just because it is MS does not change the fact that this is a patent-system absurdity

      I know this in my head but deep down, way deep down, where the best of the belly laughs come from, I know that Microsoft being forced to pull the 360 would be the funniest thing to happen in a long, long time.
    • Not to plug my blog, but I recently wrote about patent abuse [blogspot.com]. The problem isn't so much unethical companies, the problem is that the incentives to patent are all wrong.

      Microsoft is remarkably clean of patent/copyright abuse. Most other companies have less than perfect records. Even companies we see as victimized (ex - Apple sued by creative over 'heirarchal displays' and the Apple record label) have sued others (ex - apple again suing over trade secrets and tried to get gag orders for blogs).

      Yeah the
  • by cflannagan (870780) on Friday April 07, 2006 @12:58AM (#15082134)
    I wonder if Microsoft would pull a 360 here.
  • by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Friday April 07, 2006 @12:58AM (#15082137)
    Could god make a chair so heavy that he himself could not throw it across the room and smite lesser companies?
  • by Entropy (6967) on Friday April 07, 2006 @12:58AM (#15082140)
    Wow. Suppose this were to happen with other electronics ..

    I mean, how exactly are they supposed to really enforce such a thing? Would owning an XBOX 360 then be illegal? If that becomes precedent, that frankly scares the shit out of me. Ten years down the line, having some of my electronics retroactively made illegal to possess?

    I'm no MS fanboy by the stretch of anyone's imagination - frankly I loathe them.

    But given the wider implications here, I hope they get a partial victory out of this - such that people who allready have this equipment can keep it.
    • by dtdns (559328) on Friday April 07, 2006 @01:03AM (#15082185) Homepage

      Ten years down the line, having some of my electronics retroactively made illegal to possess?

      The RIAA and MPAA are pretty much already working on that with analog audio/video devices, and anything digital that doesn't conform to their DRM standards.

    • "Would owning an XBOX 360 then be illegal?"

      No.

      If it went that far, Microsoft would have to recall the boxes. They would ship them back to Redmond, remove the infringing code, and return them to consumers, or ship new ones to consumers, or give you your money back.

      I rashly assume the offending code is used to play DVD movies. Thus, you might get an Xbox 360 which would not play movies out of the deal. Or your money back.

      Of course, if you didn't return your Xbox 360, there is little that Microsoft or Lucen
    • If you owned a piece of patented technology made by a company that violated the patent, you could not be in violation for owning it. No society, at any point in time in the history of patents has come anywhere near trying to persecute people who own patented technology they did not manufacture themselves.

      There are no wider implications here. Welcome to slashdot, where many articles will make you want to crap your pants if you're not well informed in patent and copyright law.

      Lots of terrible things are happe
      • Actually you are wrong. Patent holders can go after not just the makers of an infringing product, but also the users. This recently (last 1-2 years) came up with a company claiming to have a patent on the idea of redirecting hotspot users to a log-in page. The patent was rather dubious, so rather than sue the makers (who have money to defend themselves) they decided to target small hotel chains who used gateways with redirection built-in, demanding a "liscense fee" based on location size. In most cases
      • by zcat_NZ (267672) <zcat@wired.net.nz> on Friday April 07, 2006 @01:49AM (#15082374) Homepage
        If you own a patent-violating xbox and decide to keep using it (because, for example, the replacement from Microsoft can't play DVD's any more) then you are personally responsible for continuing to violate whatever patents apply.

        And should you be personally sued for using infringing technology, the following paragraph gives you a fairly clear idea of what help you can expect from Microsoft;

        17; exclusion of incidental, consequential and certain other damages. to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, in no event shall microsoft or its suppliers be liable for any special, incidental, punitive, indirect, or consequential damages whatsoever (including, but not limited to, damages for loss of profits or confidential or other information, for business interruption, for personal injury, for loss of privacy, for failure to meet any duty including of good faith or of reasonable care, for negligence, and for any other pecuniary or other loss whatsoever) arising out of or in any way related to the use of or inability to use the software, the provision of or failure to provide support or other services, informaton, software, and related content through the software or otherwise arising out of the use of the software, or otherwise under or in connection with any provision of this eula, even in the event of the fault, tort (including negligence), misrepresentation, strict liability, breach of contract or breach of warranty of microsoft or any supplier, and even if microsoft or any supplier has been advised of the possibility of such damages.

    • I reccomend paying attention to the eBay v. MercExchange [findlaw.com] case which is currently before the Supreme Court. Basically they are deciding whehter it is proper for trial court judges to automatically issue an injunction if a party is found to be infringing a patent.
  • Is this the same company that makes Lucent winmodems (often found in older laptops) etc, or a different Lucent?
  • The Patent (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mike deVice (769602) on Friday April 07, 2006 @12:59AM (#15082153)

    For those who like to read such things, the patent is right here [uspto.gov].

    It is long. Very, very long.

    • Re:The Patent (Score:3, Interesting)

      by servoled (174239)
      Seeing as how the article mentions a decoder, I'd assume this is the claim they're talking about:

      13. An apparatus for decoding a compressed digital video signal, comprising:

      a means for receiving a compressed digital video bit stream; and

      a means responsive to a motion compensation type signal for selectively and adaptively performing motion compensated decoding of frames of the compressed video bit stream.

      Claims that include "means for" fall under the provisions of 35 USC 112, 6th paragraph which states:

      A

  • by t0qer (230538) on Friday April 07, 2006 @01:00AM (#15082155) Homepage Journal
    See above. So which is it? Nvidia makes thier graphics chip right? So wouldn't the blame chain trickle down to them?

    PS, typin live at my karaoke show right now. Follow the link in my sig, say hi, if you like streamin video of drunk girls singin.
  • Publicity stunt? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nickgrieve (87668) on Friday April 07, 2006 @01:01AM (#15082166) Journal
    Publicity stunt of not, I am sure MS would be just as vicious if another company used their IP without paying royalties.

    Live by the sword...
  • All 360s? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JoeShmoe (90109) <askjoeshmoe@hotmail.com> on Friday April 07, 2006 @01:01AM (#15082169)
    So that's like, what, ten or twelve tops? It's still on preorder everywhere I've visited.

    In all seriousness...how can this even be possible as a lawsuit. I think someone didn't refresh their browser and saw a joke news story from April 1st.

    MPEG2 and all MPEG related standards are "owned" by MPEG LA, who licenses the technology. It would be one thing if Microsoft deployed a product with MPEG2 playback capabilities without paying the license, but then where is Lucent in all this? Is this some crappy dredge up of a vague compression scheme like Unisys pulled?

    If so, why Microsoft? There's about a billion DVD players out in the market right now that would be infringing on this patent. Maybe the patent is only related to MPEG2 and networks? Whoops...a billion PCs out there that would be targets. Isn't Lucent in the middle of being bought by some French company? Does it make any sense to begin some protracted NTP vs Blackberry type war in the middle of that?
    ite
    The whole article amounts to two lines on some website I've never heard of so...I'm calling it a belated April Fool's...the April Fool being CowboyNeal.

    -JoeShmoe
    .
    • Re:All 360s? (Score:5, Informative)

      by gabebear (251933) on Friday April 07, 2006 @01:49AM (#15082375) Homepage Journal
      "MPEG2 and all MPEG related standards are "owned" by MPEG LA, who licenses the technology. It would be one thing if Microsoft deployed a product with MPEG2 playback capabilities without paying the license, but then where is Lucent in all this? Is this some crappy dredge up of a vague compression scheme like Unisys pulled?"

      The patent [uspto.gov] covers one implemntation of encoding/decoding MPEG2 video, not the actual formating of the data in the file like the UNISYS case. The lawsuit [gamesindustry.biz] is definately real and it looks like Microsoft is going to be handing a wad-o-cash to Lucent for this.

      Think what would have happened if Jack Bresenham [wikipedia.org] had patented all of his work...
    • Re:All 360s? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Skuto (171945)

      In all seriousness...how can this even be possible as a lawsuit. I think someone didn't refresh their browser and saw a joke news story from April 1st.

      MPEG2 and all MPEG related standards are "owned" by MPEG LA, who licenses the technology. It would be one thing if Microsoft deployed a product with MPEG2 playback capabilities without paying the license, but then where is Lucent in all this? Is this some crappy dredge up of a vague compression scheme like Unisys pulled?

      *Nowhere* does the MPEG LA guarantee th

  • The Typo (Score:5, Funny)

    by neoshroom (324937) on Friday April 07, 2006 @01:02AM (#15082174)
    The lawsuit, which was previously filed by Lucent against Microsoft, was ruled in favor of Microsoft, not on legal grounds, but because of a typographical error in Lucent's patent papers.

    The typographical error in question was the use of an unusual symbol by Lucent in place of the more standard 's' in the word 'Microsoft.'

    The judge ruled that since there is no true legal entity called 'Micro$oft' to be the defendant the case must necessarily be dismissed.

    __

    Write My Essay [elephantessays.com]
  • by MustardMan (52102) on Friday April 07, 2006 @01:03AM (#15082177)
    So instead of reuters [reuters.com] or the washington post [google.com] or, shit, even cnet [com.com], we get a nobody gamer site with an article that has no links to anybody credible. Brilliand reporting from slashdot, as usual.
  • by thesuperbigfrog (715362) on Friday April 07, 2006 @01:03AM (#15082179)
    I don't think that Lucent is holding all the cards here. There are many other groups that could have a say in this lawsuit:

    Approximately 640 patents world wide make up the "essential" intellectual property surrounding MPEG-2. These are held by over 20 corporations and one university:


    * Alcatel
    * Canon Inc.
    * Columbia University
    * France Télécom (CNET)
    * Fujitsu
    * General Electric Capital Corporation
    * General Instrument Corp. (now the broadband division of Motorola)
    * GE Technology Development, Inc.
    * Hitachi, Ltd.
    * KDDI Corporation (KDDI)
    * Lucent Technologies
    * LG Electronics Inc.
    * Matsushita
    * Mitsubishi
    * Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT)
    * Philips
    * Robert Bosch GmbH
    * Samsung
    * Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd.
    * Scientific Atlanta
    * Sharp
    * Sony
    * Thomson Licensing S.A.
    * Toshiba
    * Victor Company of Japan, Limited (JVC).

    -- from the Wikipedia


  • The money to license this patent is under Bill Gate's seat cushion.
  • by this great guy (922511) on Friday April 07, 2006 @01:04AM (#15082190)
    Lucent (to MS): Microsoft, you violated our MPEG2 patent. We demand you recall all 360s. Now.
    Microsoft: What !? We are afraid it's not going to be possible.
    Lucent (angrily): Do it now ! Or we will sue you !
    Sony (pointing his finger toward MS): LOLLLL Huhuhuhu Huhu !
    Lucent (to Sony): You too !
    Sony: Bastards...
  • by UR30 (603039)
    In related news from 2004 [lucent.com]: "Lucent Technologies names Jan M.K. Jaferian as Intellectual Property Business President ... protecting, enhancing and generating value from Lucent's Intellectual Property assets, which includes Lucent's extensive portfolio of nearly 14,000 active patents worldwide."
  • Not because I want them to stick it to Microsoft, but because Microsoft has the dollars behind it to be able to make a difference in the future, and would be motivated to do so when they personally feel the impact that software patents are having on software development.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      If I ever saw the need for a mod option entitled "Retarted", that was it. Thanks man, I seriously hope you're not in a place in this world to be making major decisions with that fuzzy logic of yours.
      • I think perhaps you, like the person that modded my post as troll misunderstood the point of my post (judging it by the topic I selected, no doubt).

        Software patents are an abomination. They should be abolished, entirely.

        And quite frankly, if it took an upcoming new technology being scrapped when it was just about ready to go to make a company with the financial pull to start the ball rolling towards making it happen, I'd be 100% for it.

        Because it wouldn't happen again. To anyone. Ever.

  • Lucent should go SCO style... They should sell a license for Using their Mpeg decoder patient tech for the low cost of $699.00 and then threaten to sue the end users, if they fail to buy. They could call it a lucoder license.

    If Lucent likes my idea and you have a xbox you might be sued!

    Do you think Microsoft would offer to support the end users being sued by Lucent?

    See. FUD can be a 2 way street ;)
  • They will have to change the name from Xbox 360 to Xbox 180
  • Does it make me bad that I laughed when I read this?

    Oh well, on topic. It seems kind of stupid to toss out a lawsuit because of a typo. If everyone knows it was a typo, couldn't they just correct the mistake and continue? Why make Lucent refile?

    Seems like a GIANT waste of everyone's time and money.
  • by cyberjessy (444290) on Friday April 07, 2006 @01:23AM (#15082288) Homepage
    Its come to a stage where the biggies are using patents just to create an entry barrier for smaller companies and individuals. There can be no other reason why Microsoft would still want patents in place, considering that they have gotten hit over and over again, and again by patents which atleast violate the principle of common sense. Surely, MS (and most other companies which refuse to come out against patents) would have some game plan there.

    I hope you Americans will use your vote to fix the broken patent system. I live in India, but if I want to build something I have to worry whether some jerk has patented the most obvious part of it, thanks to USPTO. I cant even imagine how they would judge the merits of a technical patent. Fuck.
  • More info (Score:3, Informative)

    by Kangburra (911213) on Friday April 07, 2006 @01:27AM (#15082299)
    The full document can be got here [vnunet.com] in PDF format.

  • Microsoft will pay Lucent a pittance or a pretty penny depending on how the details are worked out, and life will move on.

    Given the complexity of the XBox 360 and the (probably) limited uses of the decoder by Microsoft itself, will a court really issue an injunction? Not to mention that MPEG-2 has been around for about an eon or so. It's not like MS cribbed someone's hot new trade secret... not this time around anyway.

    I'll still be able to buy a 360 next week if I want, assuming they're not sold out aga
  • ... go around, blasting any tech you see, using the Injunction Blaster and Patent Traps!
  • by Phat_Tony (661117) on Friday April 07, 2006 @01:35AM (#15082324)
    I thought that, among huge companies, the current insane state of the patent system functioned the way the superpowers did in the cold war- under the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction. Since they all have thousands of patents covering every inane and obvious aspect of doing anything from writing software to building jets to flipping a hamburger to taking a piss, I thought they couldn't afford to start suing one another, because any suit would be met with a dozen counter-suits, and both companies would be assuring the annihilation of their profits into a bloody cataclysm of endless legal fees.

    I understand how little extortion, er, "Property Management" firms can sue the likes of RIM, because they don't make or do anything but leech off anyone successful, so you can't threaten them with anything. Or a company on its last legs can make a crazy last-ditch effort to sue themselves into profitability, like SCO. But what's Lucent really doing here? Isn't Microsoft going to turn around and use it's double-click patent [slashdot.org] to try to make Lucent stop selling everything they make that involves a GUI at any point? Among thousands of other similar suits they could doubtlessly file covering every aspect of everything Lucent does.

    Basically, what's Lucent thinking, and why doesn't MAD work here?

    • "Property Management" firms ... don't make or do anything but leech off anyone successful

      On this, I'd have to disagree. I'll admit that they don't produce the product for the end user, but in reality, the inventor almost never does. What "Property Management" firms do is create a market for ideas, particularly for smaller inventors. If I, as an individual or small R&D firm, come up with an idea, I have to find somebody to buy the rights to it in order to profit from it, or manufacture it myself.

  • I think I've finally figured out "Stage 2" in

    1) Collect Underpants
    2) ???
    3) Profit

    Stage 2 is "Sue over Patent".
  • A typo?!? (Score:3, Funny)

    by onlynameicanget (931321) on Friday April 07, 2006 @01:50AM (#15082382) Homepage
    "The lawsuit, which was previously filed by Lucent against Microsoft, was ruled in favor of Microsoft, not on legal grounds, but because of a typographical error in Lucent's patent papers."

    Wow. You'd think if you were going to try and win a case against one of the biggest companies on the planet, you'd at least spellcheck your papers. In Microsoft Word.

    Heyyy...wait a sec...

  • I mean, couldn't Lucent sue over the original XBox, too? Or is the 360 using mpeg2 in a way the original didn't?
  • OK, this is dumb (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JPriest (547211)
    First, it was dumb of MS if they used MPEG2 with licensing it first. Second, how much can a license to play back MPEG2 possibly cost per console? Should Lucent not just request the necessary fees instead?
  • Can I sue Lucent for emotional distress because they made a typo and were the reason my xbox 360 was recalled, because of their incompetence and subsequent retrial rules in favor of Lucent after the fact?

    Would it be interesting if some retard judge actually makes Microsoft pull the 360 off of the shelves. Regardless of the monetary gains possible by settling, forcing M$ to actually be punished for it's misdeeds would be a first. That is if the patent claims are not your typical "Process for transimitting
  • Interview (Score:3, Funny)

    by Jungleland (65157) on Friday April 07, 2006 @05:20AM (#15082885)
    I guess I had better not mention playing my 360 as a hobby when I go for my interview at Lucent :-)

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