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Thursday, October 19, 2006
Sony warns against grey importing and wins court vs Lik-sang


Sony has warned that it will take legal action against anyone engaging in grey importing of its products after scoring a High Court victory over online retailer Lik-Sang.

In his ruling yesterday, Judge Michael Fysh found that Lik-Sang - which offered Japanese PSPs to European consumers via its website - was in breach of intellectual property rights.

Lik-Sang had claimed that it was operating within the law as the company is based in Hong Kong, and has no trading presence in the UK or European Economic Area.

But, as reported by the Financial Times, Judge Fysh ruled that, "The acts of which the complaint is made have, in my view, been perpetrated not in Hong Kong but here in the EEA, and without Sony's consent."

Sony declined to comment directly on the case. However, a spokesperson did tell GI.biz: "The law is clear; grey importing PS2, PSP or PS3 into the EU, without the express permission of SCE is illegal. Therefore, we will utilise the full scope of the law to put a stop to any retailers who chose to do this."

He continued, "Ultimately, we're trying to protect consumers from being sold hardware that does not conform to strict EU or UK consumer safety standards, due to voltage supply differences et cetera; is not - in PS3's case - backwards compatible with either PS1 or PS2 software; will not play European Blu-Ray movies or DVDs; and will not be covered by warranty."

It's no surprise that Sony is offering a strong warning against importing PS3s - there's likely to be a high demand for the consoles in Europe, following the announcement that they won't be officially arriving here until four months after they go on sale in the US and Japan.

The company will doubtless be looking to avoid a repeat of the events of last year, where several retailers, including ElectricBirdLand, ended up in court for selling import PSPs.


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