3/29/2005

Be Aware of Patents

Sony and their ever famous PlayStation and PlayStation2 may be yanked from the shelves. According to the article Mortal Combat, US District Judge Claudia Wilken ordered Sony to "stop selling its already hard-to-get PlayStations, as well as nearly four dozen games it has made or allowed others to sell on its systems". The dispute is over what is called haptics technology - software and hardware that makes a game controller shiver and shake when you slam a car into a wall or get shot by a bad guy, or makes a steering wheel veer out of control when you bump into an object. Apparently Sony is infringing on patents owned by a small Silicon Valley company, Immersion, which patented the shiver and shake technology.

Patents are one method a company can use to protect unique production processes and products and prevent competitors from copying ideas; however, they are also something other companies must recoginze and respect, as Sony failed to do this time.

4 comments:

Emily said...

I think that it’s a good thing that Sony got told to stop producing and selling the games because if they did infringe on a patent that is the same as stealing. Sony did not have the right or the permission to produce and use the patented information. I hope something more happens to them than not getting to sell the product in question just to make them an example of stealing is not right.

Harry said...

I would also have to agree that Sony is in the wrong, by using others technology that has been patented. This is going to be a big mess for Sony, and there are also going to be alot of upset customers when they can't buy certain games. I guess this is where ebay comes in. Probably because people will be willing to pay anything for these games.

C-Dizzle said...

The judge ordered that the company discontinue sales of the Playstation and Playstation2 however the judgment was given a stay until Sony can appeal this judgment. It’s my understanding that this stay allows Playstation to continue selling their game consoles for the time. My question about this matter is; why did it take so long for Immerson to bring suit against Sony for this copyright infringement?

Dr. Tufte said...

Don't forget folks that patents also offer a way to hold big firms hostage through the tort system - just being the devil's advocate.

Another way to look at this is that both sides would have been better off getting a deal done out of court. The fact that they didn't means that either Immersion asked for too much, or that Sony offered too little.