Officials from Immersion Corporation have announced that the company has won its patent infringement suit, regarding 'rumble' effects in game control devices, against Sony Computer Entertainment and Sony Computer Entertainment of America. The jury decided that Sony had infringed US patents 6,275,213 and 6,424,33 concerning "tactile feedback man-machine interface devices".
The verdict has awarded Immersion $82.0 million, although a judgment has not yet been finally entered, and Sony are expected to file several post-trial motions and actions – before taking an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. For their part, Immersion lawyers are asking the court to issue a permanent injunction against Sony selling any products covered by the patents, primarily the DualShock range of joypads.
A similar lawsuit was settled by Microsoft in July 2003, when the company agreed to pay Immersion $26 million to license the technology for use in its PC and Xbox joypad products. As part of the deal, though, Immersion is required to repay a portion of this sum, should a lawsuit be won against Sony.
At the same time, Microsoft bought a significant number of shares in Immersion and gained the rights to sub-license the company’s technology to other parties, including Sony. This is presumably the reason why Sony have not been offered the option to settle immediately, and license the technology.
Immersion describes itself as "the market leader in the field of haptics - the science of touch", particularly noting: "Intellectual property (IP), represented by the company's strong patent portfolio, is the foundation for the business model."