Dutch Court lifts ban on Sony's PS3 imports
11 March 2011
A Dutch court today lifted a ban that barred Sony from importing PlayStation 3's into the Netherlands.
The ban was was imposed in late February after the Korean electronics firm, LG challenged Sony over alleged patent infringements. It is estimated that around 300,000 PS3s were impounded as a result.
The ban could have had wider ramifications as the Dutch facilities are being used by Sony to import consoles for most of Europe.
Sony confirmed to BBC News that the ban was lifted on Thursday afternoon.
The South Korean company is now faced with a hefty fine for damages.
The issue in question concerns the Blu-ray disc player, which forms part of Sony's PS3 console. According to LG, the product uses several pieces of technology which have been patented by it.
According to LG, Sony failed to licence the technology and is infriging upon its intellectual property rights.
Two weeks ago, the company moved the court to ban the imports of PS3s into the Netherlands as also to authorise the seizure of consoles stored in Sony's warehouse.
A similar injuction is being sought in the US by LG.
Under the latest ruling LG would have to pay substantial damages, but that does not mean Sony gets off the hook.
It would still have to defend the claims of patent infringement at a later date.
According to legal experts, Sony might yet end up having to pay substantial royalties to LG if the wider case goes against it.
However, in the event of Sony winning the case, LG might, in principle. be ordered to pay additional sums to Sony.
They point out that there is also the impending US legal action over both the Blu-ray and other matters, that could involve the companies in new issues.
The two companies are involved in a long-running dispute over patents for mobile phone technology.
The Dutch customs have seized around 300,000 PS3s and another nine shipments of between 15,000 and 20,000 are en route to the Netherlands – which would now be allowed through customs.
LG has demanded a payment of around $2.50 per PS3 sold by Sony. The Japanese giant has sold around 50 million consoles worldwide. LG claims that certain other Sony products including some Bravia TVs also infringe its patents.