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Sony Told to Halt U.S. PlayStation Sales
Mar 28, 2005
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Sony Corp. said it was ordered by a U.S. court to halt sales of its blockbuster PlayStation consoles in the key U.S. market and pay U.S. $90 million in damages to a small U.S. tech company, Immersion Corp.

Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE), Sony's gaming unit, said it would appeal the decision by a California, U.S. 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.

Immersion, a 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.

The $90 million awarded by the court is more than triple Immersion's total revenues of $23.8 million in 2004 and represents two-thirds of the company's current market value of around $135 million.

The court's decision confirmed a ruling by a California jury last year that ordered Sony to pay $82 million in the case. The amount was raised to slightly more than $90 million due to interest.

In another intellectual property-related lawsuit between Japanese and U.S. technology companies, Toshiba Corp. was ordered by a California jury last week to pay a total of $465 million in punitive and other damages to Lexar Media Inc. for stealing trade secrets.

Toshiba suggested it would appeal the decision. (Reuters)

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