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Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Sony appeals PlayStation ruling, but will pay licensing fees

Sony Corp.'s game unit will appeal a U.S. patent-infringement ruling involving its PlayStation products but will pay a compulsory licensing fee to plaintiff Immersion Corp. while its appeal is being heard.

A California federal judge last week assessed penalties totaling $90.7 million against Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) and its subsidiary Sony Computer Entertainment of America Inc. for infringing its touch-feedback technology patents. The court also issued a permanent injunction against SCEI that would prevent it from selling its PlayStation game consoles in the U.S.

SCEI argued that its controller-vibration technology does not infringe Immersion's patents, and a company spokesman said it will therefore appeal the ruling. Nevertheless, Sony will pay compulsory license fees for the duration of a court-ordered stay of a permanent injunction of PlayStation sales. A spokeswoman declined to disclose the amount of the payments.

SCEI introduced its Dual Shock controller Dual Shock in November 1997 that vibrates in response of game scenes. Dual Shock 2 for PlayStation2 in March 2000. Immersion (San Jose, Calif.) sued Sony in 2002 alleging it violated two of its patents.

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