Microsoft Starts Rumble with Immersion

dell takes a slice at apple with super thin latitude z dellz closed

Microsoft has filed a lawsuit against haptics developer Immersion Corporation, claiming Immersion has violated terms of a 2003 licensing agreement which granted Microsoft money in the event Immersion settled with Sony over the use of patent “rumble” technology in its Dual Shock Playstation controllers. The details and history of the lawsuit are complicated, and seem to hedge on making fine distinctions between what constitutes a “settlement” and what constitutes a “business agreement.”

Back in 2002, Immersion filed a patent infringement suit against both Microsoft and Sony, alleging the companies were infringing on its biofeedback technology patents. Microsoft settled with Immersion for $26 million. However, Immersion continued legal action against Sony, with a jury finding in 2004 Sony had violated two Immersion patents, and a judge issued an injunction against Sony selling rumble-enabled products. That injunction was put on hold while Sony appealed, and in early 2007 Sony and Immersion agreed to settle their dispute and work together to put vibration technology—a.k.a. “Rumble”—back into PlayStation products. Sony paid Immersion $97.2 million in damages and interest, plus an additional $22.5 million to license Immersion’s technology through 2009.

Now, Microsoft has come back to Immersion. It seems the terms of the companies’ 2003 settlement agreement included payment to Microsoft in the event of a settlement with Sony. Under the settlement, Immersion would pay Microsoft a minimum of $15 million for any amount received from Sony up to $100 million, along with 25 percent of any amounts between 100 and 150 million, and 17.5 percent of any amount over $150 million.

In its suit, Microsoft apparently believes the $22.5 million Sony paid to Immersion to license the company’s technology through 2009 should be counted as fruits of the settlement—and, since that would bring the total to over $100 million, Microsoft would essentially be entitled to 25 percent of that money. Furthermore, according to text of the suit published by Todd Bishop at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Microsoft believes it would be entitled to a slice of an additional $10 million-plus-royalties option for use of the technology in non-PlayStation products.

Microsoft claims Immersion owes it at least $27.5 million.

Immersion and Sony don’t describe the $22.5 million (and $10 million-plus-a-royalty option) as part of a settlement; instead, they categorize the arrangement as a “business agreement” separate from the lawsuit settlement. Immersion says it intends to vigorously defend itself against Microsoft’s suit, saying in a statement, “Immersion believes that it is not obligated under the sub-license agreement with Microsoft to make any payment to Microsoft relating to the conclusion of its litigation with Sony Computer Entertainment.”

Industry watchers are expressing some surprise at the terms of Microsoft’s settlement with Immersion. Essentially, if Immersion managed to extract $144 million from Sony in a settlement, Immersion would have to pay Microsoft back the full amount of its $26 million settlement with the company. If Immersion managed to extract more than $144 million from Sony, Immersion would effectively be paying Microsoft to use its technology—the same patented technology Immersion accused Microsoft of using without license back in 2002.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

The best of the last generation: Our 50 favorite Xbox 360 games

The Xbox 360 thrived during a generation where games were plentiful. Here's our list of the best Xbox 360 games of all time, including all game genres and even a few special indie hits.

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.

Find the buried treasure with our Fortnite weekly challenge guide

The Fortnite season 8, week 4 challenges are now out for all players around the world. The big one this week tasks players with searching for Fortnite buried treasure using the buried treasure map item. Here's where you can find treasure on…

Here's our Champion's guide to picking the best character in Apex Legends

Apex Legends' use of heroes with different abilities helps separate it from other battle royale games. To help you choose your legend, we've put together a legend guide detailing their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.

The best Nintendo Switch deals and bundles for March 2019

Looking to score Nintendo's latest console? We've smoked out the best Nintendo Switch deals right here, including discounts on bundles that feature must-have games like Super Mario Odyssey, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and Zelda: Breath of…

Nintendo Labo: VR Kit has a ton of games you can play with starting April 12

Nintendo Labo: VR Kit has a plethora of games to play after you're done building the Toy-Cons. From an on-rails alien shooter to a deep sea photography adventure, here's what you can play with Labo: VR Kit. You can even make your own games.

How to break Posture and deal a Shinobi Deathblow in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is an incredibly difficult game, and managing the Posture system is a key part of improving and tackling the latest From Software title's most challenging sections.

Here's what we know about the Dark Souls developer's next game

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is the latest game from Dark Souls and Bloodborne developer From Software. Here is everything we know about the new game, including its setting and combat changes.

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in Destiny 2: Forsaken

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.

Here's a look at how the Epic Games Store is sizing up to the competition

The Epic Games Store has picked up exclusives left and right since its launch last December. From AAA games like The Division 2 to wonderful indies like Hades, the Epic Games store has an impressive library of exclusives.

Get Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice for free when buying an Xbox One

You can get Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice for free when buying an Xbox One from Newegg. Eight different bundles are available for this deal, so you can walk away with Sekiro and another game such as The Division 2 or Anthem.

Master Shinobi combat with our Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice beginner's guide

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is one of the hardest games of the generation, and it can be overwhelming, even for those who have played From Software's other games. Here is what you need to know to get started.

World of Warcraft's allied races will make you want to start a new character

The Horde and Alliance are seeking new allies in their struggle for control of Azeroth. Whether you pledge your allegiance to the Horde or Alliance, we've got a guide to help you unlock every allied race that's coming in Battle for Azeroth.