A jury in San Jose, California returned a verdict yesterday in favor of Immersion Corporation, a leading developer and licensor of touch feedback technology, which had filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Sony Computer Entertainment arguing that Sony had infringed on a variety of patents surrounding force-feedback technology.
The jury found that Sony infringed all the asserted claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,275,213 and 6,424,333 and that those claims were valid. The verdict also awarded Immersion damages in the amount of $82.0 million. Sony plans to appeal the judgment.
Immersion intends to ask the court to issue a permanent injunction to enjoin Sony's continued infringement.
In a Nutshell
If Sony's appeal does not prevail, the company will have to pay Immersion the damages awarded by the court and likely will need to pay Immersion licensing fees to continue using the force-feedback technology present in its Dual Shock style controllers.
Immersion Corporation filed lawsuits against both Sony and Microsoft asserting that the companies' touch feedback mechanisms, i.e. vibration motors in the Xbox Control Pad and PS2 Dual Shock 2 controller, infringed on Immersion's patents for similar devices.
Microsoft reached a $26 Million settlement with Immersion in July which gave MSFT a worldwide royalty-free, irrevocable license to the company’s portfolio of patents. In a bizarre twist, however, part of the settlement involved Immersion selling a number of shares of its stock to Microsoft, effectively giving MSFT a stake in the company. Should Immersion prevail in its lawsuit against Sony, another stipulation in the settlement calls for Immersion to pay $30 Million back to Microsoft.