Given its global position as an electronics giant, Sony is quite familiar with patent law. The company is also quite familiar with the potential penalties for running afoul of patent law, as evidenced by the $97 million in damages and interest it had to pay Immersion Corporation in a dispute over the rumble functions in Dual Shock controllers.
While the two companies have since patched things up, Sony opted to leave rumble by the wayside when it was designing the PlayStation 3's motion-sensing Sixaxis controller. The electronics giant couldn't avoid patent headaches entirely, however, as Irvine, California-based Target Technology Company filed suit earlier this month, seeking damages for alleged patent violations relating to the Blu-ray technology used in the system.
The suit, which names Sony Computer Entertainment America, Sony Pictures, and Sony DADC, claims that products marketed under the Blu-ray name infringe on a patent it owns for reflective layer materials in optical discs. The patent addresses what Target called a need for specific types of silver-based alloys with the advantages (but not the price) of gold. According to the patent, the alloys are also more resistant to corrosion than pure silver.
Target does not specify in its suit whether it believes all of Sony's Blu-ray discs infringe on its patent, or the suit applies to just a portion of the discs manufactured. The patent was filed in April of 2004 and granted in March of 2006.
Target is seeking a permanent injunction preventing Sony from violating its patent rights in the future, as well as damages with interest, multiplied due to what it characterizes as deliberate and willful infringement.
Sony representatives declined to comment, while Target's attorneys had not returned GameSpot's requests for comment as of press time.