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Sony ordered to pay Dual Shock license fees

Court ruling could end up costing Sony $27 million a year in licensing charges to Immersion.

A new ruling in the ongoing legal battle between Sony and US firm Immersion Corp has ordered the Japanese giant to pay a quarterly license fee for its use of force feedback technology in PlayStation hardware and games.

Immersion's original lawsuit against Sony was upheld last September, with a jury awarding the company $82 million in damages after deciding that the PlayStation, the Dual Shock controller and over 40 videogames all infringed Immersion's patents.

Now a Californian district court has ordered Sony to pay a 1.37 per cent license fee based on sales of the PlayStation console and of the named videogames, to be paid quarterly effective from July 1st.

The company has also been told to provide Immersion with sales data from June 30th to September 30th of last year. The license ruling is expected to cost Sony up to $27 million per annum.

Immersion holds patents for force feedback technology which cover certain aspects of the rumble effect used in game joypads, and also named Microsoft as a defendant in its original lawsuit in 2002 - but the Xbox manufacturer settled out of court in July 2003 by signing a licensing agreement with the firm.