Korean tech company LG won an injunction from a Dutch judge in a patent lawsuit, resulting in thousands of PlayStation 3 consoles being impounded in Holland.
The injunction, issued last week, has European customs police seizing PS3s as they are imported into the Netherlands, which is the main point through which Sony brings the units into Europe. The civil court ruling applies to all of the European Union, and lasts for 10 days unless extended.
Systems already in the EU are not affected by the ruling. It is estimated that most territories have two to three weeks worth of stock to sell at current rates before the console will start becoming scarce.
A similar lawsuit has been filed in U.S. court, but has yet to be ruled on.
LG’s complaint revolves around the use of Blu-ray technology in the PS3. Sony is battling with the company over seven separate patent issues in courts around the world, including a pending complaint in U.S. court that would block imports of certain LG smartphones to the U.S.
This isn’t some trumped-up lawsuit aiming to bully a big corporation into paying out over obscure bit of patent law. This injunction turns the situation between the two companies into a problem not just for the legal and PR departments to deal with, but one that affects cash flow and sales.
Whatever happens, gigantic multinational electronics manufacturers can take care of themselves. Let’s hope that European (and, conceivably, American) PS3 owners aren’t the ones who ultimately get screwed. How much would it suck to find out that the expensive console you shelled out $400 or more for has been legally ruled as a dead end for gaming?
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