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Loophole could see Sony dodge PS3 injunction

Wed 02 Mar 2011 10:52am GMT / 5:52am EST / 2:52am PST
HardwareLegal

Console seizures only allowed in the Netherlands - for now

LGE

Sony Computer Entertainment

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

playstation.com

Sony may be able to continue shipping PlayStation 3 consoles into Europe, despite the injunction brought against it by LG.

The rival electronics firm has managed to bar European PS3 shipments due to a patent war over Blu-Ray technology - thought to be a response to an earlier legal challenge by Sony regarding LG mobile phones.

However, the Guardian reveals that European patent fragmentation may mean imports can continue were Sony to move its port of entry.

Currently, PS3s arrive primarily via Amsterdam and Rotterdam. LG's injunction applies to the Netherlands, and not to the entirety of Europe - so Sony could continue shipments if an alternative destination is found.

Were Sony to move port, LG retains the option to seek injunctions in other European nations. The PS3 firm may need to keep its new entry-point a temporary secret in order to keep one step ahead of LG. The efficacy of a sustained chase may depend on Sony's willpower in moving around the estimated 100,000 weekly consoles required to keep up with demand, and on whether other EU member states agree with the Dutch ruling.

Prejudgment seizures, which Sony seeks to avoid by steering clear of Dutch ports, are far less common outside of the Netherlands. While LG could achieve the same effect with preliminary injunctions, the PlayStation-maker would have more scope to defend itself against such an order.

Sony currently has around two to three weeks' of stock at European retail, and LG's initial victory only lasts 10 days. However, the option to extend to ban remains. In the event Sony was found guilty of patent infringement, it would be required to pay a fee for every PS3 sold globally to date.

11 Comments

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,254 421 0.3
I'm confused. If Sony is found guilty in a European or Dutch court of infringing a patent, I see how that would mean they would have to pay a royaltee for European or local Netherlands sales to date, but would not there need to be seperate rulings in US/Japan/Australia etc? What if the Dutchcourt decides an infringement has taken place but a US court passes judgement in favour of Sony?

Posted:3 years ago

#1

Brian Lewis Operations Manager, Aeria Games Europe

136 84 0.6
At this time Sony has not been found guilty of any patent infringement. They are being denied access via a prejudgment seizure.

Should Sony be found guilty in the EU, it will be much easier for LG to roll that into favorable verdicts in other regions of the world, as well as allow them to get prejudgment denials of access to other regions, based on the EU judgment.

Posted:3 years ago

#2

Private Industry

1,176 182 0.2
It`s still beyond me how LG holds a patent for Blu Ray playback that Sony does not have as one of the companies who created the standard and only affects the PS3 and Bravia TV`s of Sony but not other Sony devices with Blu Ray playback.

So the question I have is how much they actually have a valid case except for the "revenge" case after the mobile phone case Sony made against LG.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Private on 2nd March 2011 7:49pm

Posted:3 years ago

#3

James Verity

132 25 0.2
@ Werner Nemetz possible reason is because they are joint developers dosnt give them automatic rights to use the other partners technology...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Verity on 2nd March 2011 8:03pm

Posted:3 years ago

#4

Private Industry

1,176 182 0.2
If you have multiple parties creating something together it would be kind of shady if one of them just goes ahead and makes a patent for whatever all of them have developed together. If that is the case here is not know as I didn`t see the patent LG is basing the lawsuit on, but I would like to read that one. The limited amount of devices affected by this is kind of strange.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Private on 2nd March 2011 8:17pm

Posted:3 years ago

#5

Private Industry

1,176 182 0.2
They all look very generic and nothing of that looks like only the PS3 does. I certainly see why they waited until now since some of them where only approved summer last year, but than again 2 patents where filed after the PS3 came out. While that would be an error on Sony to not patent it since it was not patented yet, can you actually make a patent of something that was used 2 years prior to that point by someone else and later sue for patent infringement? If there is no patent on mobile phones I can`t just go there and file a patent for a mobile phone and afterwards sue every mobile phone maker.

Posted:3 years ago

#7

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,282 2,477 1.1
"can you actually make a patent of something that was used 2 years prior to that point by someone else and later sue for patent infringement?"

Yes, you most certainly can. Always, always patent your technologies, products and processes if you can. Never leave it to chance or this can and likely will happen to you. If not by a large company in a series of legal spats with you, then by a patent troll just looking for product or process not yet patented to get easy money.

Posted:3 years ago

#8
The whole foundation for patents is to drive innovations and protect the economic interests of the innovator.

In a lot of European countires it is NOT possible to patent something that already exists (no innovation anymore), while in the US it seems to be other people's/companies' job to prove a patent invalid by providing evidence of earlier examples where the patent has been used.

I wish (not gonna happen) this would change to the European model, as it usually results in the party with the biggest lawyer budget getting the upper hand one way or the other (time, money etc..)

Posted:3 years ago

#9

Curt Sampson Sofware Developer

596 360 0.6
The whole foundation for patents is to drive innovations and protect the economic interests of the innovator.

That's half right. The idea that patents (and copyright) have protecting the creator as a purpose (rather than as side effect of a particular method to support the purpose of encouraging innovation) is a relatively recent one. The mere ability to control one's own works granted by copyright and patent law eventually turned in people's thoughts to being a "right" of some sort.

As far as the European vs. U.S. "patent models," there are some differences, but whether showing a lack of innovation is done by the patent office or by someone being sued by the patent holder is not a difference in philosophy as much as a difference in how much work the patent examiners do.

Posted:3 years ago

#10

J. Goldmaker Community Management

26 0 0.0
I understand that a factory that builds crucial components for Blue Ray is located in Soma, Miyagi Prefecture and is currently unable to retool its line because engineers that calibrate the equipment cannot get to the area which is in the middle of the Tsunami zone.

Posted:3 years ago

#11

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