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Will Sony Run the LG Blockade?

| 2 Mar 2011 20:31
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It won't be easy and it won't be cheap, but a legal loophole could allow Sony to bypass LG's injunction against PlayStation 3 shipments to Europe.

Eyebrows went up earlier this week when PlayStation 3 shipments to Europe were halted by an injunction arising from a patent infringement complaint filed against Sony by LG Electronics. Customs officials in the Netherlands seized tens of thousands of the consoles as a result, leaving just two weeks worth of inventory on the continent. The injunction is only good for ten days but Sony imports 100,000 PS3s into Europe every week and LG could very well go back to court and attempt to have the injunction extended. That's some serious bad news.

Which is why Sony might actually consider the "logistical nightmare" of bypassing the injunction by bringing shipments in through ports outside the Netherlands. Currently the PS3 supply for Europe and the U.K. comes in through Rotterdam and Amsterdam but since the injunction is valid only in the Netherlands, Sony could conceivably, and legally, send those shipments elsewhere. There would almost certainly be hassles involved above and beyond the obvious difficulty of rerouting 100,000 PS3s a week to other ports but Sony could at least manage those issues by throwing money at them, something it can't do against a court order from The Hague.

Further complicating the situation is the need to keep everything on the down-low in order to dodge LG action on other fronts for as long as possible. While other European nations may not allow for "prejudgment seizure" as in the Netherlands, an injunction against the sale of infringing devices is always on the table. If Sony is able to run the blockade, so to speak, LG will be forced to go after it country by country if it's serious about cutting off the PS3 supply - although saddling Sony with the expense and aggravation of all this extra dicking around might be enough to keep it happy while the infringement case works its way through the courts.

And you thought international patent law was dull.

Source: The Guardian

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