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Loophole could see Sony dodge PS3 injunction

Console seizures only allowed in the Netherlands - for now

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.

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Alec Meer avatar
Alec Meer: A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.
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