LG wins PS3 import ban in Europe

Continent's customs officials ordered to seize shipments of Sony's console as part of ongoing patent litigation with Korean electronics company.


LG took the nuclear option earlier this month in its ongoing patent litigation with Sony, petitioning the US International Trade Commission to block PlayStation 3 and Bravia TV imports to the United States. While the result of that petition remains to be determined, LG has claimed victory in a similar complaint put before the US ITC's European counterpart.

The PS3 may soon be hard to come by in Europe.
The PS3 may soon be hard to come by in Europe.

The Guardian reports today that LG has won a preliminary injunction in its ongoing patent dispute with Sony, and customs officials have been ordered to seize all PS3 imports into the UK and continental Europe. The ruling, which was reached by a civil court in the Hague, dictates that all PS3 imports must be confiscated as they are imported for a period of at least 10 days.

According to The Guardian, tens of thousands of PS3s have already been seized by customs officials in the Netherlands. Rotterdam and Schiphol, both located in the Netherlands, are the primary import points for PS3s coming into the UK and Europe, and consoles are currently being held in Dutch warehouses.

The report notes that Sony imports approximately 100,000 units into Europe a week. However, PS3s won't immediately begin disappearing from store shelves, as most retailers have between two and three weeks of stock on hand. LG's current options, The Guardian reports, are to extend the 10-day injunction, or to request a court order to have Sony's confiscated consoles destroyed.

Sony's US arm had not responded to a request for comment as of press time. However, speaking to The Guardian, a Sony Europe representative said, "We are currently looking into this matter and cannot make any comments at this point in time."

The patent dispute began late last year, when Sony filed a complaint with international courts over seven alleged patent infringements by LG, which is based in South Korea. At the heart of the complaint were a number of LG's mobile phones, including the new Windows Phone 7-enabled Quantum. Sony also targeted LG's Blu-ray players as part of a civil lawsuit.

However, LG soon struck back with patent-infringement claims of its own. One claim targeted the PS3's Blu-ray technology, specifically as it pertains to how the console's media format works with multiple data streams and data reproduction. Sony's alleged TV infringement deals with high-definition receivers, as well as signal receiving and processing.

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