The legal battle between Sony and LG hots up as a legal injunction comes into force banning the importation of the PS3 games console into Europe. European customs officers have been ordered to seize shipments of Playstation 3s after LG won a preliminary injunction against Sony in an acrimonious patent battle between the two Asian electronics giants.
Any new PS3s entering the EU will also be confiscated for at least 10 days. If the ruling from the civil court of justice in the Hague, is extended it could mean that consoles may start disappearing from high street stores.
The Guardian believes “tens of thousands” of PS3s were already nabbed by officers last week in the Netherlands.
Sony, which imports around 100,000 of the consoles a week, is frantically trying to get the ban lifted. The Japanese company has the right to appeal to the European patents office.
LG meanwhile, could apply to the same patents office to get the 10-day import ban extended. Alternatively, the Korean company could apply for a court order to get the consoles destroyed but it is highly unlikely the court would grant a request to eliminate the warehoused goods.
LG argues that Sony PS3s infringe a number of its patents relating to playback of Blu-ray Discs. LG called for an investigation into the PS3’s Blu-ray use in a filing with the US international trade commission earlier this month, and said it sought a “permanent exclusion order … excluding entry into the United States” of the games console.
If they’re particularly hard on Sony, LG could even apply to have the seized consoles destroyed, assuming the courts feel they could even get the ball rolling on something so drastic.
The two technology giants are involved in seven messy separate patent disputes, one in which Sony is seeking to block shipments of LG smartphones to the US.
Sony has sold more than 3m PS3s in the UK since its launch in March 2007. It is understood to have a stockpile of around 6,500 PS3s in Germany and 10,000 in the UK and according to The Guardian stockpiles of the PS3s could run out within two to three weeks if the ban is not lifted.