Immersion Corp., which develops and licenses touch-feedback technology sometimes used in game controllers, has won the latest round in its long-running legal battle against PlayStation 2 manufacturer Sony, regarding the DualShock rumble technology used in all PlayStation 2 game controllers.
This comes after Microsoft settled against the company back in July 2003 for similar Xbox-related patent violations, and continuing settlements with smaller companies, most recently peripheral maker Electro Source, thanks to Immersion's wide-ranging patent on the concept.
In the last ruling against Sony, made in early 2005, Judge Claudia Wilken of the U.S. District Court levied an $82 million award to Immersion Corp., or 1.37% of Sony's sales of PlayStations and PlayStation-related paraphernalia. The $82 million is less than the $299 million originally sought by Immersion Corp., but the court ruled that Sony's infringement of the vibration patents was not willful and therefore not deserving of the full penalties.
However, in this latest ruling appealing that $82 million award, according to a Wall Street Journal report, Sony's defence was the alleged nondisclosure of some of the inventions of key employee Craig Thorner. who has been a consultant both for Immersion and subsequently for Sony. But, according to the report, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken was unhappy with Thorner's testimony supporting Sony, given that he had also been paid by Sony, and so dismissed this line of defence.
According to the reports, another appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is expected to be heard this year, but it's expected that the matter will be finally resolved one way or the other in the next few months.