May 25, 2007 6:23 AM PDT

Sony sued over Blu-ray

Given its global position as an electronics giant, Sony is quite familiar with patent law and the potential penalties for infringement.

Barely three months ago, Sony paid $97 million in damages and interest to Immersion in a dispute over the rumble functions in Sony's Dual Shock controllers. And while the two companies have since patched things up, Sony opted to leave rumble by the wayside when it was designing the PlayStation 3's motion-sensing Sixaxis controller.

The electronics giant hasn't been able to entirely avoid patent headaches since then, however, as Irvine, Calif.-based Target Technology filed suit earlier this month, seeking damages for alleged patent violations related to Sony's Blu-ray technology, which is used in the PS3 system.

The suit, which names Sony Computer Entertainment America, Sony Pictures and Sony DADC, claims that products marketed under the Blu-ray name infringe on a patent Target owns for reflective-layer materials in optical discs. The patent addresses what Target called a need for specific types of silver-based alloys with the advantages (but not the price) of gold. According to the patent, the alloys are also more resistant to corrosion than pure silver.

Target does not specify in its suit whether it believes all of Sony's Blu-ray discs infringe on the Target patent or whether the suit applies to just a portion of the discs manufactured. The patent was filed in April of 2004 and granted in March of 2006.

Target is seeking a permanent injunction that would prevent Sony from violating Target patent rights in the future, as well as damages, with interest, multiplied due to what Target characterizes as deliberate and willful infringement.

Sony representatives declined to comment. Target's attorneys had not returned GameSpot's requests for comment before press time.

Brendan Sinclair reported for GameSpot.

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Target Tech Patent List
Patents dating back to 1998 on optical technologies. A reference for anyone interested.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.patentmonkey.com/PM/FolderID/f8b850684c534b5b93dda0c5579f8dfd.aspx" target="_newWindow">http://www.patentmonkey.com/PM/FolderID/f8b850684c534b5b93dda0c5579f8dfd.aspx</a>
Posted by patent-monkey (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Target are fools
Firstly DVD9 is hitting it's limits right now and there will not be much improvement to come. Even though on the target website it says that they are dedicated to the DVD9 and will have many refinements.... BS. Secondly, how could Sony develop the Blu ray in 2002, with work going into it from long before that. You think it only takes four years to invent an electronics appliance? I'm thinking that this is a no brainer accident that Sony didn't think to patent.
I could see it going something like this.
Hmm how can we make the disc more reflective?
Sir maybe if we tried more conductive materials like gold silver or platinum.
No that would be too expensive...
Ok then what if we just make a gold or silver alloy of some sort.
Absolutely, if it is thin enough it might work more and cost less, make it so.

Then over in America
Pres: We need a new market strategy.
BoardMember: I have an idea. What is the best way to make money in the post modern world? Suing big companies that have been around for forty years before us.
Pres: Good idea, patent all our technology now, down to the wire, and along with that patent all our theoretical tech as well, making sure that no company can ever release any combination of reflective material for disc use.

Honestly you shouldn't be able to sue someone unless you can prove they "copied" you.
Posted by theprof00 (50 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How Courts work.
The RIAA sues people all the time. Most people that they sue don't have anything to do with the crime..

Any law professional will tell you it isn't about truth... Its all about who wants to settle first.
Posted by Astinsan (132 comments )
Link Flag
Sony is just stupid
Sony is simply stupid. No more explaination needed.

I hope Target can nail them to a cross.
Posted by onlyauser (220 comments )
Link Flag
Sigh
As much as I would love to see Sony go down in blazing flames,
I can't help but to have to agree that this is one of those
common sense patents that Sony probably did not purposefully
infringe upon.

Once again, the patent laws need some revamping, because if
you can patent the usage of metals to reflect light, than it seems
to me that mirror manufacturers need to start patenting the
metals they use in their mirrors and go after other
manufacturers. It's ridiculous.

Unless Target's patent involves a very specific alloy and/or
process for creating/applying it that Sony is using, I don't see
how this could/should hold up in court.

Of course, Corporations tend to lay down and take it by settling
out of court, so this probably won't go too far...
Posted by jelloburn (252 comments )
Link Flag
Not to mention
Sony invented the medium with which Target Tech stays in business, without the dvd, TT would not be anywhere right now.
Posted by theprof00 (50 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Invented DVD?
Hardly... Sony and Phillips were working on CD type disk, but abandoned it to join the standard created by Toshiba (who is also the creator of HD-DVD).

As always the case, Sony's proposal was lacking and rejected...

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVD" target="_newWindow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVD</a>
Posted by umbrae (1073 comments )
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