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'Tens of thousands' of PS3s seized in new LG court order

Sony to appeal second European ban in the Hague today

Sony has suffered another setback in its ongoing patent battle with LG. A number of its PlayStation 3 consoles, reported to be in the tens of thousands, have been seized by Dutch authorities.

This is in addition to the existing injunction against importing PS3 stock into Europe issued last week - meaning an increasingly large proportion of new consoles for the territory are currently in a limbo state.

Reuters notes that local media have claimed the temporarily withheld units number in the tens of thousands, and that Sony intends to appeal the Dutch court's decision.

The legal tussle relates to a disagreement over Blu-ray patents. Foss Patents (via Gamer/Law) has uncovered more details on this previously opaque conflict, finding that a disagreement over just how much a license between the pair should cover was at the root of it.

Sony is accused of infringing four LG patents, two of which broadly cover subtitling systems for Blu-ray movie discs. While LG sought to mutually agree on a licence specific to the Blu-ray patents, Sony wanted a wider-ranging one which also involved royalty payments from LG regarding a number of mobile phones that purportedly used Sony-patented technology.

This apparently led to Sony attempting to seek an import ban on LG phones, such as the Rumor Touch, late last year, with LG then responding in kind with last week's injunction against PS3 imports into Europe.

So far, Dutch courts appear to be in agreement with LG's assertion that Sony must acquire a license from the Korean electronics firm if it is to sell or import PlayStation 3s in the Netherlands (its current port of entry from European shipments).

Claims Fosspatents, "LG asked the court not to hear Sony before issuing a decision because if LG is wrong, Sony will be reimbursed later, but by involving Sony in the proceedings there would be a risk of the allegedly infringing goods being moved out of the warehouse before they can be seized."

Sony's appeal is to be held at the Hague today; in the event this court also rules against the PlayStation firm, further injunctions or extensions of the two existing orders are likely. Potentially, Sony could be ordered to pay royalties for every PS3 shipped to date.

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Alec Meer

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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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