PlayStation 3 Seized Across Europe, Yet No One Is Talking

The only thing being reported is that there is an ongoing dispute between LG and Sony over the Blu-ray players found in the game consoles.

There must be something to the allegations from LG, as they have gotten an injunction against Sony, and all PS3’s that have come into Europe have been seized, in order to comply with the order obtained at the Hague, in the Netherlands.

The report to the Guardian has a total of about 100,000 of the Sony gaming units entering Europe each week (fairly staggering figure!), and tens of thousands reported seized, in order to comply with the order from the court. If this continues, retailers will have none of the units on their shelves, and it could deal a distinct blow to the overall sales of the consoles for the quarter.

Sony is said to be working frantically on an appeal, which will lift the judgment and remove the seizure order, allowing sales until a final verdict is reached in the matter.

But that is the strange thing about this – neither side is claiming the high ground, as both sides remained closed to comments, with the only word from Europe being that the fight has been long and acrimonious over the patent dispute.

Other than a small blurb this morning, citing the same Guardian story, I cannot find any other word on the dispute. On the Blu-ray website, there is news of a previous battle lost by Sony involving the technology involved in producing the lasers used in the player –

Sony has settled a lawsuit with Columbia University Professor Emerita Gertrude Neumark Rothschild which focused on the technology used for basic semiconductor technology used in current Blu-ray players. During the 80’s and 90’s, Professor Rothschild owns patents for wide band-gap semiconductors which are widely recognized to have led to the development of short-wavelength light emitting diodes, such as the blue laser diode used for Blu-ray.

That suit, and subsequent settlement, came in 2008, and it had been all clear on the Sony horizon until this from LG.

It is very strange that no one has come out with the exact nature of the infringing items, only stating that there are seven points of contention, but the LG claim must have had some weight to keep the sales from continuing. It is also odd that nothing has come forth concerning Blu-ray players in general, so whatever the infringing technology is, it must be specific to the PS3 alone.

The sales may possibly soon impeded in the United States, as we are told that LG has petitioned the International Trade Commission in the U.S., seeking a permanent exclusion to importation for the Sony devices.

Unlike the United States, the European sales are mostly paid pre-orders, so with the seizures, there are some very unhappy customers that have seen the consoles they were awaiting get jerked away before the assorted retailers were able to deliver on the booked sales.

No figures for the exact numbers of consoles still out on store shelves are available, but, in a move like the current gasoline crisis, we may see the prices of the units temporarily skyrocket, with the chance of long-term unavailability.