Microsoft's Halo franchise was a leader in getting online console gaming off of the ground as well as the starting point for the Xbox 360's clearest advantage in the current-generation system wars, Xbox Live. It also happens to be the topic of the latest patent-infringement case to be brought against Microsoft, litigation that could cost the publisher $90 million in damages.
In opening statements reported on by the Bloomberg financial news service today, New York-based Paltalk Holdings told a jury that Microsoft's console and the Halo franchise infringed on two patents developed by Mpath Interactive. According to Paltalk's lawyer Max Tribble, the patents involve "technology for ways to control interactive applications over multiple computers."
Tribble reportedly went on to note that Microsoft engaged Mpath in discussions regarding the patent, finding the technology to be "very valuable." Although Microsoft's lawyer, David Pritikin, did not dispute that meetings took place, he said that the patents are related to a dial-up method of computer-to-computer communication and thus they "don't cover the way the Halo games work." Microsoft ultimately decided to work with a different company, Pritikin said.
Microsoft is also taking issue with the company's requested $90 million payout. Paltalk bought the two patents from Mpath for less than $200,000, Pritikin claimed. "The patents aren't worth much, certainly not $90 million," he told the jury.
According to Bloomberg, the trial is expected to wrap up in about two weeks.