Legal Question in Technology Law in Florida

Xbox modification

I'm a freelance writer and I'm working on an article on Xbox modification. I would like to know if modifying an Xbox is illegal even if you don't use it in illegal ways. What modifications are illegal and what are the consequences for modifying an Xbox. Also, what, if anything, is Microsoft and XBOX doing to combat Xbox modification? Please respond as soon as possible!

Asked on 9/26/04, 7:48 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Lee Kim Tucker Arensberg, P.C.

Re: Xbox modification

Within the scope of a patent right is that no one except for the owner (or by permission by the owner -- i.e., with a license) may make, use, or sell the patented device. The claims of a patent language determine the scope of the granted patent. Usually, these claims are written in an open ended way (most frequently, with the term "comprising") such that any add on or even possibly a modification may constitute infringement of that patent right (i.e., since it is a 'use').

This article may provide you with more insight:

Patents, like other intellectual property rights, are based upon an economic engine model. In other words, it is more likely that the owner of the intellectual property right (copyright, trademark, trade secret, patent) will go after you for a commercial use rather than a non-commercial use, although non-commercial uses have, at times, been actionable.

I am sure that Microsoft is aggressive in protecting its IP and this would include suing for patent infringement.

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Answered on 9/26/04, 8:35 pm
Tonia Troutwine, Esquire - Troutwine Law Group. LLC

Re: Xbox modification

It is possible to make modifications to existing products. However, you must be careful and you have to work in accordance with existing patents. It is important in doing your work that you retrieve a copy of the patent of the X-box and any patented modifications. If the current patent is not drafted to incorporate the modification then it may be patentable and marketable. Although, you may not be able to use or sell it in conjunction with the original X-box. An attorney would need to see the modification along with the existing patent to fully advise of potential liabilities. For further research to complete your article regarding patent modifications, you should check the USPTO website for articles on current legal trends. Also, a search for law journals and law review articles on the subject matter will be helpful to you. Regulations for all patents are applied similarly regardless if the patent is for the latest drug or the latest computer technology.

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Answered on 9/29/04, 10:27 am

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