Sony to battle LG in court over PS3 seizure
PS3 shipments hang in the balance as the patent dispute between Sony and LG goes to court
Details have emerged on the legal patent wrangling going on between Sony and LG. The court of Breda in the Netherlands had issued a court order under Dutch Patent law on 28 February which enabled LG to request the seizure of PlayStation 3 units stored in the district of Breda. This is separate to the EU patent infringement customs action which was executed in the first wave of LG’s attempts to hinder distribution of PS3’s.
Breda is the home of Sony’s European logistics center, and the base from which all EU shipments of PS3’s are handled, which therefore includes PS3’s coming to South Africa.
The court order authorised seizure up until 10 March 2011. The Breda court did not hear Sony when LG first applied for the court ordered seizure, because the judge reasoned that allowing Sony advance notice of the order would have given them time to move the shipments of PS3’s to another region.
Sony has appealed the prejudgment seizure and the case will be heard today (10 March 2011) at 2pm CET. LG’s complaint relates to patents on the Blu-ray Disc standard, which it claims Sony has infringed upon by using a Blu-ray player in the PS3 without having a licensing agreement in place.
Meanwhile, Sony will undoubtedly have reworked its logistics to avoid having more shipments tied up in the Netherlands. They will likely keep their new routes a closely guarded secret for as long as possible to stymie future attempts by LG to block the shipments. This will be effective, as European patent infringement law is a complicated affair, and applications for seizure have to be applied for on a region by region basis. Dutch law is apparently a special case as it allows for prejudgment seizure orders, which LG took advantage of.
There are a number of court cases on going in the US regarding disputes between Sony and LG. Negotiations failed in December 2010 and as a result Sony moved to have the United States International Trade Commission ban the import of LG cell-phones. LG’s PS3 seizure move is the latest salvo in an escalating patent battle between the two electronics giants.
Local PS3 distributor Ster Kinekor has previously said that the legal shenanigans in Europe should not affect South African PS3 stock levels.
Source: FOSS Patents