I have seen and used some other force feedback joysticks well after MS discontinued their sidewiders. Logitech had one, the G940 introduced in 2009
, and thrusmaster too once upon a time, its still findable on their site, though I dont think they still sell it. The problem was they where rubbish, the force feedback didnt work anywhere as good as the MS FFB2 - I had the thrustmaster, and threw it away.
As for the patent issue; I heard that before, so I googled it. Kinda weird, in july 2003 microsoft discontinued all their sidewinder products, due to "lack of demand":https://www.gamespot.com/articles/micro ... 0-6031007/
A few weeks later they settled a lawsuit with immersion for the force feedback technology, and licensed their technology:https://www.gamespot.com/articles/micro ... 0-6072673/
But they never made another joystick
BTW, a few years later, MS successfully sued immersion:https://www.law360.com/articles/67454/i ... -tech-suit
Anyway, that patent probably has expired by now.