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European customs ordered to seize PlayStation 3 shipments

Tue 01 Mar 2011 12:04am GMT / 7:04pm EST / 4:04pm PST
HardwareLegal

LG wins 10 day ban on importing consoles; two-three weeks worth of stock at retail

Sony Computer Entertainment

Sony Computer Entertainment is a Japanese videogame company specialising in a variety of areas in the...

playstation.com

PlayStation 3 units imported into the UK and Europe will have to be seized by customs for at least 10 days, after electronics giant LG won a preliminary injunction against Sony.

The civil court in the Hague ruled in favour of LG over a dispute involving Blu-ray patents.

According to a report by The Guardian, tens of thousands of PlayStation units were seized in the Netherlands last week, leaving retailers and Sony in the UK with around two to three weeks worth of stock. Sony typically imports around 100,000 units a week.

Sony has the right to appeal to the European patents office to get the ban lifted, although LG has the option of extending the ban beyond 10 days. If Sony is found to have infringed LG's patents, it could be forced to pay compensation for every unit sold around the world.

LG has not commented on the situation, and Sony has only acknowledged that it is "looking into the matter."

Korean firm LG took action against Sony last month to have the PlayStation 3 banned in the US, along with Bravia televisions that feature Blu-ray support.

17 Comments

Gregory Hommel writer

91 53 0.6
I really wish someone would explain this situation in further detail. Besides being interesting, I am confused as I thought Blu-Ray was Sony's proprietary technology.

Posted:3 years ago

#1

Curt Sampson Sofware Developer

596 360 0.6
I've put some further information in a comment on this post.

Posted:3 years ago

#2

Tom Keresztes Programmer

698 353 0.5
How can be a PS3 anymore secure than guarded by customs officers ?

Posted:3 years ago

#3

Danny Gregory Studying Computer and Video Games, University of Salford

4 0 0.0
I don't know if it is just me, but how desperate and pathetic do lg look. Trying to ban the ps3 in the us! Lmao! Why didn't they step up sooner to challenge Sony?

Posted:3 years ago

#4

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,254 421 0.3
@Danny, the way patents cases work, this could have been ongoing for 5 years already.

Posted:3 years ago

#5

Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D

863 707 0.8
Yeah, what Andrew said. They've probably been sending letters back and forth for years now, trying to reach some kind of settlement.

Posted:3 years ago

#6

Jas Purewal Solicitor, Osborne Clarke

35 0 0.0
This isn't really a 'games industry' battle at all - there is a wider patent battle going on between LG and Sony, one strand of which applies to the Blu-Ray tech inside PS3s. As Andrew said, this will probably have been going on for some time now, but ofc this is the first time it has made waves within the games industry.

Posted:3 years ago

#7

Dave Sharp Business Development

1 0 0.0
A lot of corporations don't act too quickly when some other business entity infringes because in the early stages the amounts of money are small. If they let someone continue to infringe and let the revenues build up before they act in bigger sense legally it ups the ante and creates a potentially more profitable scenario for them. They will have been doing the legal minimum to keep themselves in a position to do this and now they are in a position to do more damage - therefore Sony are more likely to settle.

Posted:3 years ago

#8

Michael Bennett Senior Designer, The Creative Assembly

39 12 0.3
Regardless of the why and how, somebody at Microsoft is, at this very moment, having a very large celebratory drink.

Posted:3 years ago

#9

Andrzej Wroblewski Localization Generalist, Albion Localisations

103 78 0.8
Guess we will have to pay more for PS3 games now...

http://img707.imageshack.us/i/1289669392...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrzej Wroblewski on 1st March 2011 5:55pm

Posted:3 years ago

#10

Victoria Mercer Legal Consultant, Lawyer, IP Specialist

7 0 0.0
@Michael Bennett - haha, probably very true.

Posted:3 years ago

#11

John Bye Senior Game Designer, Future Games of London

484 456 0.9
"A lot of corporations don't act too quickly when some other business entity infringes because in the early stages the amounts of money are small"

Perhaps there should be a (very short) statute of limitations on patent violation lawsuits, so you have to bring the action as soon as you become aware of the violation, instead of waiting five years for the other company to shift a few million units and then blackmailing them into a huge settlement, which is sadly what most companies seem to do.

Not to mention that there needs to be a much higher standard required of patents so you can't register vague patents that hobble some other companies years down the line doing things that nobody had even thought of when the patent was originally registered, simply because it contains such sweeping generalisations that it covers all kinds of things completely unrelated to the actual method or concept being patented. Generally the company doing the suing isn't even the company that originally registered the patent, it's someone who saw a chance to make a quick buck and bought the patent purely so they could sue someone else for allegedly violating it. Again, this kind of thing happens far too often, in the games industry and elsewhere.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by John Bye on 1st March 2011 6:20pm

Posted:3 years ago

#12

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,254 421 0.3
@John, couldn't agree more, although in this case, it seems as if Sony went after LG first, and LG are counter attacking, which I can't blame them for if this is the case, especially if they hope for a settlement where they drop their suit in return for Sony doing likewise. If instead they'd come to an agreement they'd probably both be better off, maybe they need their heads knocked together.

Posted:3 years ago

#13

Jonathan Davies Studying History, University of St Andrews

4 0 0.0
@Michael Bennet I doubt it. Microsoft are engaged in a similar, potentially ruinous patent dispute with Motorola over alleged infringement on the Xbox 360.

Posted:3 years ago

#14

Shane Sweeney Academic

401 418 1.0
Patents are collected like an arms race by giant businesses. The only one it hurts is any new contender that happens to not have a massive backlog of patents to defend itself with the next time they decide to have a drop down menu.

This is just one part of an overall strategy to defend IP between Sony and LG. Our industry is just caught up in it.

Posted:3 years ago

#15

Julio Gorgé Managing Director, Lemon Team

22 0 0.0
"Blu-ray is just a bag of hurt. It's great to watch the movies, but the licensing of the tech is so complex…"

Steve Jobs, 2008. :D

Posted:3 years ago

#16

Curt Sampson Sofware Developer

596 360 0.6
That sounds like a disingenuous comment by Jobs to justify not having Blu-ray drives in Macs. I find it hard to believe that Blu-ray licensing is significantly more difficult than DVD licensing.

I might buy an argument that it's significantly more difficult to implement a playback system from a technical point of view, since they constraints on where, when and what sort of encryption or other copy-protection you need to use are more extensive than for DVD.

Posted:3 years ago

#17

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