I know most people don’t pay much attention to lawsuits, but any video game fan or anime fan would want to pay attention to one of these two ongoing suits, one of which involves the legality of the Xbox 360 S, another involving ADV’s debt.
If the one concerning the 360 S goes through, the 360 will be kicked out of the market. If the one about ADV goes through, the Western anime market pretty much becomes FUNimation’s domain.
The 360 S Suit – Microsoft VS Motorolla
Many are guessing this is in retaliation to another, unrelated suit, but Motorolla is alleging that the Xbox 360 S, the current model of 360, infringes on five of its patents.
The case has already played out in Denmark in favour of Motorolla with a ban imposed on the system, but Microsoft has convinced the judge in the case to wait for the US ruling of the same case before allowing the ban to be enforced.
The judge in the American court found that Microsoft has infringed on four of the five patents claimed. The case is now being sent to a commission. If the commission agrees, then the 360 S will be banned from being sold.
Microsoft’s only coherent defence in the case was apparently that the video game industry, in terms of hardware, would leave consumers with only two options if this were to happen – Sony and Nintendo. The judge immediately cut this down as irrelevant, and pointed out that Microsoft presented no proof that those two can’t field all customers effectively. And I don’t think they could possibly be able to prove that, since the industry has existed without them.
So now, while the case is waiting to get in front of a commission, companies such as IBM, Activision, Intel and the ESA have been filing claims of public interest, with their points essentially being “we’d lose a lot of money if you banned it”. I don’t think that’s going to affect anything, to be perfectly honest.
As for what could happen if this were to go through, it’s simple. Microsoft either rushes their next system to the market or loses their entire base. Honestly, if it turns out that the 360 S is basically Patent Infringement: The Game Console, I’d prefer the latter, without even taking into account how I see the 360 as generally redundant.
The ADV Suit – FUNimation VS Sentai Filmworks
For those of you who are unaware, Sentai Filmworks is pretty much FUNimation’s only competitor is the North American anime market. The company is also simply ADV with a new name, created in such a way that is intended to dodge $8 million in debt, which FUNimation has now taking charge in collecting.
Sentai has responded by claiming FUNimation is talking nonsense, and claims ADV no longer exists. ADV, however, somehow managed to will itself back into existence long enough to file a counterclaim, claiming that FUNimation is attempting to create a monopoly, which FUNimation is claiming as frivolous and an attempt to gain leverage in a case where they don’t have any defence whatsoever.
The thing is, if FUNimation wins, Sentai will go under, leaving only smaller anime publishers like Aniplex, NIS America, and RightStuf to compete, so FUNimation will pretty much have that monopoly.
No matter what side wins that case, the fans lose.
I hope this has made you more aware about these ongoing lawsuits. If you are a video game fan or an anime fan, these are pretty damn important, and that’s an understatement.