Thousands of PS3’s seized after alleged patent infringement
All imports of Sony’s PlayStation 3 (PS3) were stopped for 10 days by the Dutch customs authorities. At the same time, all the PS3 consoles in the Sony distributor’s warehouse in the country was also impounded. The reason? A court injunction requested by another major electronics manufacturer, LG, who accused Sony of infringing several of LG’s blu-ray patents in the Sony PS3.
As the majority of Sony gaming consoles sold in Europe are imported via the Netherlands, these actions meant that supplies of the PS3 more or less dried up.
According to LG, Sony had refused to sign a licensing agreement for the technology, so LG decided to take the matter to court. After the ten-day ban, however, Sony succeeded in persuading the court to revoke the injunction. Now more than 300,000 previously confiscated PS3 consoles may once again be distributed throughout Europe. While the question of patent infringement still has to be resolved, LG has been ordered to pay legal costs totalling 130,000 euros caused by the import embargo.
The current dispute between Sony and LG is not the only time that the companies have quarrelled over patents. As recently as last December, Sony in the USA sued LG for infringing a number of Sony’s mobile phone patents.