Connectix Survives Sony's Lawsuit

A San Francisco judge dismissed Sony's copyright and trademark infringement lawsuits against Connectix Corp and its PlayStation emulator for the PC and Mac. What precedent does this set for other companies involved in the emulation business?

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A San Francisco Federal Court judge, The Honorable Charles Legge, today dismissed copyright and trademark infringement claims initiated by Sony Computer Entertainment against Connectix Corp and its Connectix Video Game Station. The device, which has been available to consumers since February, enables popular PlayStation games software to run on the PC and Mac platforms. As part of the decision, seven of Sony's nine claims were resolved in favor of Connectix. The two unresolved claims of trade secret and unfair competition were placed under a 90-day review, subject to summary judgement, based on additional evidence and arguments from both companies.

"Once again, the court has found that both copyright and trademark law favors broad consumer choice. We are confident that we will prevail on the remaining issues. We hope that this decisive outcome will allow both parties to quickly close this matter and find ways to mutually benefit from our innovative cross-platform technology," said Roy McDonald, president and CEO of Connectix Corporation.

This landmark Federal decision could have broad ramifications for the software and media industry however, as it sets a precedent for other impending lawsuits involving PlayStation software emulation. In fact, Judge Legge's summary decision is bound to have some varying degree of effect on Sony's continuing legal battles over the Bleem! PlayStation emulation utility. When contacted for comment about that exact issue, Jonathan Hangartner, Bleem! Inc's legal counsel, told GameSpot, "We believe that this decision all but disposes of Sony's copyright infringement, trademark dilution, reverse palming off, and Digital Millennium Copyright Act claims against Bleem!. Although we haven't yet seen a transcript of the hearing, based on our understanding of the ruling at this point we strongly believe that we will see a similar result in our case. Although the Connectix case is several months ahead of our case in terms of its schedule, we are currently evaluating our options and will likely seek an expedited decision on these issues in the near future."

Mr. Hangartner continued, "As with the recent appellate rulings in both the Bleem! and Connectix cases, we believe that this ruling sets a strong precedent in favor of allowing consumer choice. Bleem! has always believed that consumers have a right to play their PlayStation games any way they choose, and should be able to make informed decisions about the products they want to buy."

The Connectix Video Game Station only allows PlayStation games to be run on a PC or Mac, without any visual enhancements, unlike the Bleem! utility, which actually enhances the graphical quality of PlayStation games. Whether that slight variations in the two companies' products will have significant legal bearing remains to be seen. GameSpot will continue to follow both suits and bring you the latest details.

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