March 13, 2006 3:21 PM PST

Sony loses round in DualShock patent case

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A judge has denied Sony's plea to overturn a patent infringement verdict that could potentially shut down sales of the PlayStation game console.

Last week, Judge Claudia Wilken of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that Sony had not proven that patent holder Immersion attempted to conceal information in its dispute with Sony over vibrating game controllers. Sony is therefore not entitled, she ruled, to relief from a judgment that it violated Immersion's patents.

In 2004, Sony lost a patent infringement case brought by Immersion, which licenses technology called "haptics" that allow game controllers and other devices to vibrate in response to events such as getting tackled during a game of "Madden NFL 2006."

A jury ruled that Sony's DualShock controllers infringed on Immersion's technology, and awarded Immersion $82 million. That amount was later increased to $90.7 million, and Wilken entered an injunction on U.S. sales of PlayStation consoles, controllers and games that use the vibrating technology. That injunction was stayed pending an appeal, which is currently in process in a federal appeals court.

Sony claimed that Immersion had concealed its conversations with an inventor, Craig Thorner, who had patented similar technology prior to Immersion. Lawyers for Sony argued that Immersion had tried to prevent Sony from learning that Thorner had developed prototypes based on his patents by hiring Thorner as a consultant. Immersion, however, argued that Sony could have discovered the information during the trial but chose not to, and the judge agreed.

Immersion has licensed the technology in question to companies such as Logitech and Microsoft, said Vic Viegas, Immersion's chief executive officer. Sony has been paying Immersion 1.37 percent of its quarterly revenue from PlayStation sales under a compulsory license ordered by the judge, but Immersion's standard rate is 5 percent, and the company hopes to use the injunction to force a settlement deal that reflects the higher rate, he said.

A Sony representative declined to comment on pending litigation.

Briefings in the appeal are expected to conclude this month.

See more CNET content tagged:
injunction, controller, Sony Corp., Judge, Sony Playstation

11 comments

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Sony's at it again.
What's wrong with Sony?
First they claimed that they invented the portable stereo they labeled Walkman. Not so. It was this European guy who lived in Brazil for some time. Sony dragged for decades claiming they invented the Walkman. Nope.

Now, they're messing around with another company. Jeez. At least this time it didn't take decades to get Sony caught in the act of stealing other's technology.
Posted by Dead Soulman (245 comments )
Reply Link Flag
guy in brazil
no guy in brazil "invented" the walkman prior to sony's seperate
creation in japan.

it's like how written language and pyramids were developed in
both egypt and mesoamerica

however, the did rip off the immersion controllers.

what else did they rip off? the list is pretty long, right down to
coca cola in japan

i don't buy sony, i don't use sony, i don't like sony

buy a VAIO, and try to upgrade, then you'll know what i mean
Posted by fakespam (239 comments )
Link Flag
guy in brazil
no guy in brazil "invented" the walkman prior to sony's seperate
creation in japan.

it's like how written language and pyramids were developed in
both egypt and mesoamerica

however, the did rip off the immersion controllers.

what else did they rip off? the list is pretty long, right down to
coca cola in japan

i don't buy sony, i don't use sony, i don't like sony

buy a VAIO, and try to upgrade, then you'll know what i mean
Posted by fakespam (239 comments )
Link Flag
5%
I can't believe MS is paying 5% of there x-box revenue for the dual
shock controllers, thats way to high.
Posted by Peter Bonte (316 comments )
Reply Link Flag
GOOD!
i'm surprised they even have the balls to ask for it to be over turned. who do they think they are?
Posted by brian g--2008 (25 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It never ceases to amaze at the kind of...
crap that manages to be patented. We have set a very low bar for patentability much to our detriment.
Posted by unknown unknown (1951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Well, that is the Law for ya...
I heard about this, and I remember that Microsoft has settled right away with the company in question.

Cause, they saw the writing on the wall.

Why did Sony ignored it?
Posted by Junkie Man of Machine (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Because Sony are idiots
After reading all the crap they have been pulling im not buying any Sony products. I don't care if they come out with the first holographic telephone im not buying it.
Posted by mrpeabody3119 (101 comments )
Link Flag
Are you sure...?
You should read this first:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/06/01/walkman_patent_case/" target="_newWindow">http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/06/01/walkman_patent_case/</a>
Posted by aemarques (162 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Dualshock infringement
We worked on feedback joysticks in the mid 1980's at Coleco for Colecovision. While we did not launch the joystick due to the early demise of the company, our work certainly predated any patents in question here.
Posted by WJR74 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
make logitech official controller
well they could make logitechs controller the official sony controller
Posted by F22Raptor1234 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

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