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EU PlayStation (Games) Sony Games Politics

Sony PlayStation 3 Imports Temporarily Banned In Europe 97

Posted by Roblimo
from the acrimonious-patent-battles dept.
tekgoblin writes "Looks like Sony is in some trouble in Europe. LG recently complained about Sony and filed a US patent dispute over their Blu-ray technology. Now they have been granted a preliminary injunction in the matter in Europe. This injunction prevents the PlayStation 3 from currently being imported to Europe. For at least the next 10 days, every PlayStation that is imported will be seized by government officials."
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Sony PlayStation 3 Imports Temporarily Banned In Europe

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  • Good news, Eurpeans! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Locke2005 (849178)
    This week would be an excellent time to put your PS3 up for sale on EBay!
    • by arbiter1 (1204146)
      You sure? they said every imported PS3 will be seized so might have a cop or something on your doorstep to seize your PS3
      • by Yvan256 (722131)

        How can it be imported if it's already in Europe?

    • Why? They are only seizing imports. It didn't say they were pulling them off store shelves. In fact, the article even pointed out that it will be 2 to 3 weeks before the stores run out. So maybe, if you expected the injunction to end up getting extended beyond the initial 10 days (not likely), then this week would be a good time to start buying them from the stores and hoarding them in anticipation of an upcoming shortage.

      • Yeah I find it weird that they can still sell them from the shelves but not bring any more into the country. Now will they stop consumers from purchasing PlayStations over the internet and having them shipped overseas? Or are they only stopping shipments directly from Sony.
        • by Jaysyn (203771) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (todhsals+nysyaj)> on Monday February 28, 2011 @09:07PM (#35343518) Homepage Journal

          Not weird really. The injunction is against Sony, not the merchant that is selling them.

          • by delinear (991444)
            If it were that simple, Sony could just arrange for a third party distributor to bring them into Europe.
        • by RockDoctor (15477)

          Now will they stop consumers from purchasing PlayStations over the internet and having them shipped overseas?

          If it passes from the part of the world that is not in the EU to the part of the world that is in the EU, then that is an IMPORT to the EU.

          In theory, individual shipments from (say) a Singapore shipper to an EU country will also be subject to inspection and seizure. The seizure may be permanent (if the item is deemed unsafe/ illegal for sale in the EU - porn or sub-standard electrical equipment, Tas

    • by rs1n (1867908)

      This week would be an excellent time to put your PS3 up for sale on EBay!

      Only if you are European... because if you sell from, say, the United States, then clearly it would be considered an "import" from the perspective of Europe.

    • by mysidia (191772)

      This week would be an excellent time to put your PS3 up for sale on EBay!

      Hm... or for non-europeans... perhaps it would be an excellent time to buy a PS3?

  • Hey Sony? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shikaku (1129753) on Monday February 28, 2011 @08:30PM (#35343280)

    Karma, much? Your tight grip of copyright and patents are biting you in the ass now.

    • Re:Hey Sony? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by gstoddart (321705) on Monday February 28, 2011 @08:34PM (#35343304) Homepage

      Your tight grip of copyright and patents are biting you in the ass now.

      The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.

      • ...of course, Tarkin did wind up ordering a genocide. So, maybe we should be seeking a somewhat different strategy than the one Leah tried...
        • by gstoddart (321705)

          ...of course, Tarkin did wind up ordering a genocide. So, maybe we should be seeking a somewhat different strategy than the one Leah tried...

          Well, if you wanted to run Linux on your Playstation, Sony has already done the equivalent by disabling that. Sadly, Sony increasingly acts like the empire in that regards -- it's their toy, and you can only play with it the way they say you can.

          And, really, no matter what strategy Leah chose, they were going to blow it up anyway just because they hadn't fired it yet

          • Sony committed the equivalent to a genocide? Holy shitballs.

            • Re:Hey Sony? (Score:4, Insightful)

              by sconeu (64226) on Monday February 28, 2011 @11:01PM (#35344244) Homepage Journal

              No, but they altered the deal. Pray they don't alter it any further.

              • Pray? Let us not blow this out of all proportion - we can survive without PS3 and, dare I say it, without Sony. If they want to ruin their own market-share that is entirely up to them.

                Those unfortunate souls who bought a PS3 are unlikely yo buy Sony products in the future, what with all of the dicking around.

                • by vegiVamp (518171)

                  I'm a PS3 owner. On a purely intellectual level, I agree: they're fucking around, taking things away that I got when I bought the thing, forcing updates down my throat regardless of wether I want/need them or not, et cetera.

                  On a simplistic gamer level, though, none of their decisions has impacted me, at all. I never planned on running Linux on it - would be fun, but hardly useful to me; I buy the games I play so I don't care about pirates risking bans, and it's simply a pretty good toy all things considered

          • ...of course, Tarkin did wind up ordering a genocide. So, maybe we should be seeking a somewhat different strategy than the one Leah tried...

            Well, if you wanted to run Linux on your Playstation, Sony has already done the equivalent by disabling that. Sadly, Sony increasingly acts like the empire in that regards -- it's their toy, and you can only play with it the way they say you can.

            And, really, no matter what strategy Leah chose, they were going to blow it up anyway just because they hadn't fired it yet and it would be fun. Had she given in, the planet will still have been destroyed, and the rebels would have been compromised.

            And after all that, she still managed to compromise the Alliance. [youtube.com]

        • by elrous0 (869638) *

          No worries. The Empire announced just before the attack that an intelligence source had told them that Alderaan had weapons of mass destruction, so that made it okay.

        • Or you can walk to the trains and "showers" under your own power. The result is the same.

          That is the shitty thing about tyrants, is that they don't care how you die, just that you do. It is better to stand opposed to them with every fiber of your being.

        • by Lanteran (1883836)
          Oi, it's Leia!
      • The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.

        48 million consoles.
        69 million PSN accounts. 17 million PlayStation Home accounts.
        4 million MOVE controllers.

        The PS3 Slim was introduced in 2009.

        Meaning that more than half of all PS3 consoles have been sold without so much as a whisper of support for the OtherOS, SACD, or PS2 emulation.

        On the other hand, the five year old PS3 remains feature competitive with high end DVD and Blu-Ray players.

        It supports 1080p Netflix streams with 5.1 theater surround sound.

        It supports Hulu Plus in HD.

        It supports Sony'

    • by sconeu (64226)

      <VOICE type="Nelson-Muntz">
      Ha, ha!
      </VOICE>

    • Re:Hey Sony? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 01, 2011 @12:17AM (#35344722)

      Not at all. These sorts of patent disputes behind huge IP giants are just part of the game, and all the parties involved know that quite well. I'd give it 50/50 odds that the attorneys on the opposing sides had a nice dinner together after their racquetball game last week.

      If you think Sony or some other company is ever going to react to an incident like this by suddenly snapping awake thinking "My God, maybe these patents aren't such a good idea after all," then you just don't know how this whole thing is intended to work. These companies all SHARE a common goal, and that's to completely exclude all new competition from the marketplace. In order to do that they need to brandish their weapons on a regular basis. They put on their costumes and get out in public and make like they're trying to kill each other (wink wink).

      None of these corporations is ever going to experience any serious side effect of these patent "wars." War is such a silly name for it anyway. It's more like a nice aggressive game of shirts-vs-skins (pick sport of your choosing). You act all tough on the field, but you're all drinking beers together after the game.

      • Mod parent sadly up.

      • None of these corporations is ever going to experience any serious side effect of these patent "wars."

        Nonsense. A company run by lawyers is a doomed company, and that is just what the patent game does to companies. I will state the obvious: Sony is doomed. They are weakened by their console war with Microsoft and have seriously damaged their community support with various unacceptable antics. They have lost their engineering lead to the likes of Samsung and LG. They have nearly single handedly set the stage for the final act of the console story: it is now abundantly clear that console hardware cannot ever

  • Bag of Hurt (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 28, 2011 @08:40PM (#35343346)

    "Blu-ray is just a bag of hurt. It's great to watch the movies, but the licensing of the tech is so complex, we're waiting till things settle down and Blu-ray takes off in the marketplace."

    -- Steve Jobs [engadget.com]

    Maybe this is what Mr. Jobs was thinking of?

    • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Tuesday March 01, 2011 @01:10AM (#35345004) Journal

      Patents now last so long and have been around for so long that you can't build anything anymore without using someone elses invention. Ever heard of "If I seen furthest, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants"? Well, with the patent system that is, "If I sold the most gadgets it is because I paid off everyone else".

      Worse, once patents were real physical products that had to be specific enough to make an actual product from them, you could LOOK at a patent and work around it. But now that concepts have become valid patents, you can't. So rather then a screw being patented, the very idea of fixing to things together is patented so it doesn't matter if you come up with completely new system for doing it, a better system, a more efficient system, you are STILL infringing. EXACTLY what the patent system was NOT supposed to do. It was supposed to encourage invention. Patent on the diesel engine? Make a petrol engine. A LOT of combustion engine tech early on was developed to get around patents, so we got lots of different engines and the market could then pick the most efficient for their use.

      Sony and others are however so tied to the current patent system they cannot let it go even if it is killing them. Why not? Without the patent system, Sony would be Sony'ed. What is that? Sony was once a toy maker from Japan. Making crap copies cheaply before SLOWLY improving them. Well, if you call the re-creation of the Japanese economy post WW2 slow.

      A complex patent system favors the big companies who can use their patent portfolio as weapons. Remove it, and ANYONE can compete. You wouldn't have needed a billion dollar company to launch a new phone OS, a couple of hackers could have done it. The billions of Google are not for development cost, but legal team costs.

      The patent system needs reform but the mayor players are all so indebt to it, that it would take an outsider to break it up. Maybe China can do it. They gain nothing from the patent system and if Western society continues to collapse (not actually building anything anymore except patents) then China might loose interest in pretending to obey the system.

      Something needs to change before all progress is gone to countries where you can still spend more money on development then on lawyers.

      • China will do what all the others did: cheat on IP when at disadvantage, demand it to be enforced when they have a net gain.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          China will do what all the others did: cheat on IP when at disadvantage, demand it to be enforced when they have a net gain.

          Sounds like the good ol' USA to me.

      • The patent system needs reform but the mayor players are all so indebt to it, that it would take an outsider to break it up. Maybe China can do it. They gain nothing from the patent system

        Yes they do. It serves them to have their competitor's hands tied.

      • by Tim C (15259)

        You wouldn't have needed a billion dollar company to launch a new phone OS, a couple of hackers could have done it.

        And then that billion dollar company would have come along, taken their invention, marketed the hell out of it and made a mint, all without compensating the original inventors.

        That is what the patent system is supposed to prevent. I'd agree that it needs reform (for a start, granting patents on things that really shouldn't be patentable should stop), but simply throwing it out completely is not a viable solution.

        • by mattib (1220060)

          And then that billion dollar company would have come along, taken their invention, marketed the hell out of it and made a mint, all without compensating the original inventors.

          That is what the patent system is supposed to prevent.

          Isn't it copyright system, instead of patents, which is meant to prevent that?

      • But then the system has been rotten for at least 100 years. The Wright brothers figured out that for controlled flight, one needed yaw control, and they invented a method of achieving yaw control. They then (successfully) patented, not their mechanism for yaw control, but yaw control in general. Blocking anyone else from being allowed to put into practice the fundamental basis for flight, but whatever means.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    . . . . fuck Sony

    • by Anonymous Coward

      That.

      I hate patents (not just software patents; the entire system is flawed), but it is hard to feel any sympathy for Sony.

      • by jappleng (1805148)
        (slightly redundant) I have to agree with you. Patents were introduced to stimulate innovation and research but all it really does today is stimulate the front pockets of lawyers. I want to say "why after so many years have they decided to wait and sue Sony?" but Sony does sue pretty much everyone so I don't feel that bad or care for the reason why LG waited so long.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Oh, no, it's not hard at all. I feel no sympathy for Sony, whatsoever. See? Easiest decision I ever had to make regarding Sony.

  • Maybe they will blame pirating and remove BR drives from all ps3's.
  • The way Sony treated its customers who wanted to use OtherOS to try to protect their intellectual property is the right way for LG to treat Sony: take it away from them! Since filing complaints and not getting justice, it makes me feel good to see that Sony might have to pay.
  • This is wrong (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    It shouldn't be possible to use patent courts to seize a legitimate manufactured product and destroy a business over a patent dispute. Assuming the patents don't cover a significant portion of the IP that is in the device (aka the patent isn't for a whole playstation, it's a patent for a tiny piece of the technology) then the court should be limited to ordering that Sony pay a reasonable royalty (if the patent is small percent, then say 1% of gross revenues) into an escrow account pending appeals over the

    • Royalties and settlements are usually how it happens. The injunctions aren't to stop the device from existing.. they simply freeze transactions on it until a hearing determines what royalties if any are owed. It's only when the offending party refuses to adhere to these royalties and continues profiting from someone else's invention without permission that a cease and desist is issued and/or product is destroyed..
  • Here is your chance.

    Just make sure the PS3 power adapter has the right voltage and right wall plug for Europe, and you are off to go.

    • by MrNiCeGUi (302919)
      As far as I've read, all the new PS3 slim units have universal power supplies, even if the outer label does not say so. So they only need to mind the power plug.
  • If it doesn't play BluRay discs, does it still violate the patent(s)? Sony has removed features in the past. Maybe they'll update the firmware on the ones they haven't sold yet so they can't read discs anymore, and send another update to everyone else. I guess it could still download games and stream movies from online. It would be amusing to see them just remove all of the original advertised features one-by-one until the only thing the PS3 can do is hold doors open. Well, amusing except for the fact that
    • by MHolmesIV (253236)

      I'm kinda confused about the whole complaint, myself. LG is a member of the BD patent pool. Sony is a licensee of the Patent Pool (As well as founding member). Did LG not enter some of their BD patents into the pool?

  • I bet they are going to put Linux on them a build a giant cluster.

    Oh, wait...

  • by nukem996 (624036)
    Did anyone else read the title and got their hopes up about the EU banning the PS3 because they took away the OtherOS option?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    1. remove Bluray player. That will get rid of the patent issue with LG and prevent GeoHot to run anything from discs.
    2. redesign the plastic case to a slimmier one and create a huge marketing campaign to sell the new improved console.
    3. patch all existing PS3s so that they don't run any bluray anymore and threaten user base that they won't be able to play online if they don't patch

  • This is so dangerous that LG seems a second SCO to me. If Sony doesn't want to settle and LG loses (which is probable, since those are US patents in a EU court), they'll have to pay a huge amount of money to Sony for this seizure.
  • I'm no grammar nazi by any means, but "imported to"? Shouldn't that be "exported to" or "imported into"?
  • even if they ban it for a year, it doesn't matter becouse they'll buy it as it had just been released

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