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LG Wants PlayStation 3 Banned From US Market 165

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the if-you-can't-beat-'em-sue-'em dept.
FlorianMueller writes "On Friday LG filed a complaint against Sony with the US International Trade Commission, claiming the PlayStation 3 infringes four Blu-ray Disc patents and demanding a permanent ban of the PS3 (and possibly other products) from the US market. LG, which boasts that it owns 90,000 patents worldwide, appears to take this step in retaliation for a previous Sony complaint about various LG smartphones, which the ITC is already investigating. This is reminiscent of Motorola's infringement action against the Xbox 360 that is part of its wider dispute with Microsoft. In other words, you touch my smartphones and I bomb your game consoles."
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LG Wants PlayStation 3 Banned From US Market

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  • by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew.gmail@com> on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @09:55AM (#35136886) Homepage Journal

    9 companies were in on the formation of Blu-ray, though Sony is widely creditted as being the primary creators of the technology.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blu-ray_Disc_Association [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:Too many lawsuits (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @10:04AM (#35136988)

    LG and Sony are both members of the coalition that created the Blu-Ray standard, though. It's kind of perverse that LG would then turn around and start suing members of that coalition for patent infringement for using a technology they helped develop and promote. Perhaps next time somebody forms such a coalition they should put a nonagression clause in the agreement alongside the trademark licencing for the logo.

  • by chemicaldave (1776600) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @10:08AM (#35137046)
    From the complaint itself...

    The general technology at issue involves the playback of Blu-Ray Discs, i.e., the reproduction of data recorded on Blu-Ray Disc media. As discussed below, LGE hold patents addressed to certain elements of Blu-Ray Disc playback. for example, two of the Asserted Patents, the '080 patent and the '961 patent, relate to reproducing data from a recording medium, i.e., a Blu-Ray Disc, including linking areas and data areas. Another of the Asserted Patents, the '835 patent, relates to technology for managing the reproduction o f multiple data streams, e.g., multiple camera angles, that are recorded on a recording medium, i.e., a Blu-Ray Disc. The remaining Asserted Patent, the '398 patent, relates to technology for reproducing a text subtitle stream that is recorded on a recorded medium, i.e., a Blu-Ray Disc, and updating palette information, e.g., font color and opacity, for the text subtitle stream.

    Jesus, does Microsoft have a patent for recreating font styles stored in a text document?

  • Re:Too many lawsuits (Score:5, Informative)

    by SharpFang (651121) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @10:17AM (#35137200) Homepage Journal
    There are quite few companies that -sue first- Patents portfolios are often compared to WMD arsenal. You keep your patents so that nobody dares to attack you because they infringe on many of your patents. If they do though, you launch a retaliatory strike. You must be either very inexperienced or have really massive portfolio (or have your essential profit source attacked) to assert your patents. Or simply be a patent troll with no production at all (so unable to infringe upon any patents). Of course if you get attacked, you counterattack with full strength in hope to intimidate the opponent into out-of-court settlement and backing off from their attack. Yeah, Sony, let us sell our smartphones and we will let you sell your Playstations. Following up and not settling leads to MAD, because companies can easily kill each other's production entirely, because about every single product out there infringes on one patent or another in possession of some other company, so if they launch total war, the court can shut down operations of both - and without sources of revenue they won't be able to pay compensation for patent violations and go down really fast.
  • Re:Too many lawsuits (Score:5, Informative)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @10:21AM (#35137252) Journal
    I suspect that LG has no actual interest in damaging the success of blu-ray as such; but are rather just playing the classic "Patents: Mutually Assured Destruction" game that large companies play. Since patents are so numerous, and often so broad, it is likely that both Sony and LG are guilty as sin of violating one another's patents. However, Sony was tactless enough to sue LG about it. Instead of just trying a conventional defense-in-court(and potentially ending up paying out serious cash and/or having injunctions placed against important products), LG is counter-suing. Since both parties know that they, and their opponent, are almost certainly guilty, the end result will probably be an out-of-court arrangement of some sort, with an agreement to drop the issue, and possibly a cash payment from the party with the less impressive patent chest to the one with the more impressive one...

    Aside from the futile legal costs this imposes on the big players, there are two main problems with this status-quo strategy:

    One, it gives the large players substantial latitude to threaten, and then crush or aquire, small competitors. If it is titan to titan, both sides can be reasonably assured that the other violates their patents in some ways and they violate the other's patents in some ways. If it is a titan vs. a startup, the latter has few or no patents to violate, and almost certainly violates(or is close enough to potentially violating that they could be tied up in court long after the VC money runs out...) the larger company's patents. This creates an unfortunate pro-incumbent pressure.

    Second, of course, are the patent trolls. As long as you don't produce anything but lawsuits, you probably don't violate anybody's patents. You therefore spend your time acquiring patents at fire sales and bankruptcies in the greatest bulk possible, at the lowest cost possible, and then use those to shake down the people who actually do produce things. Since a protracted legal battle is expensive and risky(because of product injunctions or willful infringement damages), you can usually walk away with a quick chunk of cash if you size your extortion demands correctly.

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