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BUSINESS: Sony Loses PlayStation Patent Infringement Case

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posted on Mar, 28 2005 @ 10:56 AM
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Sony Corp. has been ordered to stop selling the PlayStation in the U.S. and was ordered to pay $90 million in damages to Immersion Corp. over a patent infringement case. The order covers the PlayStation, PlayStation 2, two game controllers and 47 software game titles. The order has been stayed allowing Sony to continue selling the systems while it appeals the ruling.
 



abcnews.go.com
Mar 28, 2005 — NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sony Corp. said on Monday it was ordered by a U.S. court to halt sales of its blockbuster PlayStation consoles in the United States and pay $90 million in damages to a California tech company, Immersion Corp. , whose shares jumped more then 5 percent.

Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE), Sony's gaming unit, said it would appeal the decision by a California federal court in the patent infringement case.

For the time being, Sony will keep selling PlayStations as the order — which covers the PlayStation and PlayStation 2, two game controllers and 47 software titles — will not go into effect before the appeal, an SCE spokeswoman said. Sony will be paying compulsory license fees to Immersion, she added.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


The PlayStation is a quite popular game system, so I imagine if it loses the appeals, Sony will negotiate a licensing agreement with Immersion that will allow it to continue to sell the game. For Immersion, a small company, this is a major victory that will bring them a lot of cash if the order stands up to the appeals process.




posted on Mar, 28 2005 @ 12:23 PM
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In other news....Microsoft looks like it will dominate the gaming console environment now that Sony stands to loose millions in this ruling. The future is looking really bright for the XBox 2 now. Curious to see what this does to Microsoft stock prices.

[edit on 28-3-2005 by dbates]



posted on Mar, 28 2005 @ 12:29 PM
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PS 3 will be out in a year or so. I wonder if this ruling will have any affect on future gaming consoles from Sony? What exactly was the infringment on?

edited for:
Ok, I found why:


Immersion, a small, California-based developer of digital touch technologies, claimed Sony Computer Entertainment infringed on its technology that makes a game controller vibrate in sync with actions in games, the Japanese game maker said.


Immersion claims Sony ripped their vibration technology off for their own use. I think this is just dumb. Vibration tech for games was around long before Immersion was........

[edit on 3/28/05 by Kidfinger]



posted on Mar, 28 2005 @ 12:32 PM
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Yo!, Sony got caught again and with one its biggest sellers too. Wonder if the PSP unit will get caught up in the fuss?

Dallas



posted on Mar, 28 2005 @ 12:34 PM
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What about prior art?!?!

I have been playing video games all my life, and i recall MANY racing games that had force feedback of some sort LONG before the Playstation hit the market.

Also- Sony has had force feedback controlers for what 7 years now?

imo- this is an abuse of the patent system



posted on Mar, 28 2005 @ 12:35 PM
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What about other companies then, that utilize this same idea...(Nintendo's Rumble Pack, for example)???

Looks like I'll be able to pick up my next PS2 cheap, hehe....



posted on Mar, 28 2005 @ 12:35 PM
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Originally posted by Dallas
Wonder if the PSP unit will get caught up in the fuss?


I doubt it, as the PSP doesn't have any sort of rumble or force feeback

(this would take away from an already short battery life)



posted on Mar, 28 2005 @ 12:37 PM
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Originally posted by Gazrok
What about other companies then, that utilize this same idea...(Nintendo's Rumble Pack, for example)???

Looks like I'll be able to pick up my next PS2 cheap, hehe....


MS and Nintendo have already worked out a licensing agreement for the use of this technology.

as i said in a prior post, imo this is an abuse of the patent system. MS and Nintendo caving in only makes it seem legit.



posted on Mar, 28 2005 @ 12:39 PM
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Here is a bit about Immersion corp.:


Founded in 1993, Immersion became a publicly traded company on November 12, 1999. Today, Immersion is the market leader in the field of haptics-the science of touch. Intellectual property (IP), represented by the company's strong patent portfolio, is the foundation for the business model. Immersion creates tactile feedback technology that its licensing partners, which come from a variety of industries, can integrate into their products to gain market adoption. Our industry partners include Logitech, Electronic Arts, Medtronic, BMW, Siemens VDO, ALPS Electric, Dassault Systemes, and Boeing. Review our timeline below and notice how we have remained focused on enhancing the human-machine interface through the sense of touch.


www.immersion.com...


I think 'Force Feedback' was introduced before 1993.......

[edit on 3/28/05 by Kidfinger]



posted on Mar, 28 2005 @ 12:39 PM
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WTF There are like loads of other stuff with this tech. Why are these dudes not picking on Ninty and Microsoft? Did these guys ask for permission or something and sony didnt. I 'm a little confused why Sony is the only guilty party here.


[edit on 28-3-2005 by CheeseKnob]



posted on Mar, 28 2005 @ 12:43 PM
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This is an abuse of Prior Art.
The patent system is broken and needs to be fixed. These abuses only make undeserving people money while the people who DO deserve it get shafted. Good news though, PS2 is allowed to remain on shelves pending the results of thier appeal.



posted on Mar, 28 2005 @ 12:45 PM
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It could be a more technical patent infringement that just the idea of force feedback. Maybe the mechanism by which the feedback occurs was something novel and patented. Just thinking...



posted on Mar, 28 2005 @ 12:54 PM
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Originally posted by djohnsto77
It could be a more technical patent infringement that just the idea of force feedback. Maybe the mechanism by which the feedback occurs was something novel and patented. Just thinking...


Yeah it could be, but then again I remember playing force feedback games since the late 80s and I find it hard to believe that this was "New" technology in 1993. Anyone have the link to the actual patent in question?

[edit on 28-3-2005 by sardion2000]



posted on Mar, 28 2005 @ 12:57 PM
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heck force feedback joysticks and steering wheels for computers have been out well over ten years since the 80's i believe..

ok i understand that pattents are to help people from getting ripped off. but my understandind (it might very well be wrong) is that even minor changes in design could be grounds for apliance with a pattent. in all honesty i just see this as a way to try to cripple a compettiter. why is this just being done now? has it been in the works for years because ps2 has used the "rumble pack" for years.

if indeed sony has been in violation then i can see the order to pay up but i can not see the right to try to get rid of a competiters product over a small issue such as this. mabe this is where an arbitrater needs to come into play. also just because i can see it being tried. if sony does indeed have to pay the other company it should be no more per unit than any other company has paid, as well as there should be no way of withholding pattent from sony. anyway we shall see what happens.

[edit on 28-3-2005 by drogo]



posted on Mar, 28 2005 @ 01:01 PM
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Originally posted by sardion2000
. Anyone have the link to the actual patent in question?



Here is a link to their patent page. Im not sure which one it is though.

www.immersion.com...



posted on Mar, 28 2005 @ 01:03 PM
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Well Immersion Corp has 39 patents, I'm trying to whittle them down right now. If anyone is interested here is the link.

Patents

I cannot access any of the patents right now as it seems to be overloaded with requests for info. I did manage to check out one patent and even though I didn't get a chance to study it in great detail the first filling happened in 1988. So this may not be an Abuse. I smell M$ meddling little grubby fingers all over this, this may turn out into another SCO vs IBM


FYI SCO was funded by M$ in order to try and counter Linux legally.

[edit on 28-3-2005 by sardion2000]



posted on Mar, 28 2005 @ 01:06 PM
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If Immersion wasnt founded untill 1993, then how in the hell do they have patents from 1989 an 1990?



posted on Mar, 28 2005 @ 01:11 PM
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Originally posted by sardion2000
Well Immersion Corp has 39 patents,


On the patent page I linked to above there is 274 patents.



posted on Mar, 28 2005 @ 01:14 PM
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Well I just search the USPTO database using the search string "Immersion Corp." and it came up with only 39 returns. I just checked out your link and wow thats alot of patents. I'll try to narrow down the search even more now. I want to get to the bottom of this.

Here is another search I did just in case anyone is interested. I used "Immersion" as the first search term and "haptics" as the second. Hopefully that should narrow it down a bit.

Link || This link has 50 patents.

FYI to a query about how they could patent something before the company was founded, they could have been private or the Scientist(s)/Engineer(s) could have patented it before the fact. It happens all the time with new technology.

Here is yet another link that may be usefull, only 12 patents found this time. Starting to narrow it down hopefully I'll find the patent in question soon.

Link



[edit on 28-3-2005 by sardion2000]



posted on Mar, 28 2005 @ 04:40 PM
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In response as to why Nintendo and Microsoft arent named in the suit, they were, but they licenced the patent from immersion. Ive seen the patent in question and its basically a money grab. Theyve patented an unbalanced motor triggered by electrical signals, and sued the major 3. Sony was the only company that didnt settle and decided to fight it out in court. Hopefully a judge with half a brain gets this case infront of him and realises what a rediculous patent Immersion was able to obtain. I mean, really, if it wasnt an obvious application of the technology, wouldnt one of the major 3 companies grabbed it up before some piddly poor company?




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