On June 22, 2009, the day before trial began, the judge in this patent infringement case made a key decision by opting to use the special master's construction of a disputed claim.
In 1991, Peter Hochstein and Jeffrey Tenenbaum came up with the idea of communicating live while playing the same video game in separate locations. They patented the technology for doing so in 1994. In 2002, Microsoft released Xbox Live, a gaming service that also allows users to communicate while playing the same game. Sony also released similar capabilities for PlayStation 2. In 2004, Hochstein, Tenenbaum and Harold Milton, Jr. (an assignee of the patent) brought a patent infringement suit against Microsoft and Sony alleging that the voice and data communications technology used in the gaming systems infringed on the patent claims. For relief they sought a permanent injunction and treble damages. Sony settled its suit in April 2009, leaving Microsoft as the only remaining defendant.