Sony and the Dualshock Shocker

Sony and the Dualshock Shocker


According to the Wall Street Journal, Sony lost its appeal in the lawsuit brought against them by Immersion Corp., a developer of force feedback technology. Immersion Corp. and Sony have been battling it out in court over what Immersion feels is a copyright infringement on their technology that Sony uses in their Dualshock and Dualshock 2 controllers.

Sony was in court appealling a March 2005 judgement which stated that Sony owed Immersion $91 million for illegal use of their force feedback technology patents. It also stated that Sony must cease selling PlayStation systems, controllers and the dozens of games that use force feedback. The appeal was overturned, meaning that the original judgement was upheld.

Sony attempted to get a new trial because they “alleged that Immersion concealed information regarding earlier haptic-technology inventions by Craig Thorner, a former paid consultant to Immersion who submitted testimony on Sony’s behalf. Sony argued that it could have used information about other inventions by Mr. Thorner, if known during the trial, to undermine the validity of Immersion’s patents.

“Immersion denied the charges, and accused Sony of paying Mr. Thorner $150,000 for false testimony. Sony denied the allegation, stating that the money was an advance royalty to license Mr. Thorner’s patents from Electro Source LLC, a maker of videogame accessories that was also sued by Immersion. Sony said it paid Electro Source, in turn, for an option to Mr. Thorner’s patents.”

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken, stated that Thorner was an unreliable witness and wrote that “The court finds that Sony has not presented clear and convincing evidence of misconduct by Immersion that would warrant a new trial.”

Don’t panic just yet. We have a feeling this will end with a very large lump sum payment from Sony to Immersion Corp. which will result in Sony becoming another licensee of the force feedback technology. Stay tuned.

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