US PS2 could be suspended

Dual Shock for Sony as damages bill in Immersion patent case hits $90m and sales ban is threatened.

A judge in California has ordered Sony Computer Entertainment to pay $90 million in damages to Immersion Corp in the latest court verdict on a case over the rights to the force feedback technology used in the Dual Shock controllers.

The company was also ordered to halt sales of the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 consoles, Dual Shock controllers and a number of software titles, but this injunction will not go into effect until after an appeal has been heard on the case.

Immersion claims that the use of force feedback in console controllers infringes on a number of patents which it holds, and has already signed a licensing deal with Microsoft after naming the Xbox creator on its original lawsuit last year.

This is Sony's second major defeat in the Immersion case, following on from a verdict last year which ordered it to pay $82 million in damages - an amount which has now been increased slightly by this latest verdict to allow for interest.

Sony plans to appeal against the decision by California's federal district court in a higher court, but it will be paying a compulsory license fee to Immersion in the interim regardless.

In the long term, however, it's highly unlikely that Sony's products will ever be pulled off shelves in North America - with the injunction being widely seen as more of a sabre-rattling move to force Sony to agree a proper licensing agreement with Immersion.

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