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March 28, 2005
Two items on Sony.
First, a judgement has come down in favor of Immersion and against Sony. In effect, the issue is around whether Immersion's patent on console controls that vibrate in synch with game actions was infringed by Sony's immensely popular PlayStation. The judgement was entered for about USD 90 million (including interest) and a formal injunction against selling the Playstation was suspended pending appeal. Reporting online has been extremely sparse and detail-free. My guess is that the gaming press will buzz about this for some time, but in the end it's going to be another NPT/RIM situation. Sony will pay up - the question is when and how much, and what will be left of Immersion after being ground down by Sony's battery of lawyers.
Two, Randy Picker sent me a pointer to another of his forthcoming papers (PDF). This one is nominally on Grokster as well, focused on the Betamax doctrine. Anyone remember who made Betamax originally? Picker argues that the Betamax doctrine should not cover all products equally - that the ability of some products to (in his phrase) "phone home" after release for update and continued control by the maker means that more responsibility should be shifted from the user to the manufacturer. Shades of Apple vs PyMusique!
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