LG and Sony have been duking it out in court with LG accusing Sony of infringing on its patents relating to Blu-Ray technology. In question is the playback of Blu-Ray discs in PlayStation 3s. A European court has sided with LG and ordered that all PlayStation 3s entering Europe and the UK be seized and held for at least 10 days.
Here is more from The Guardian:
European customs officers have been ordered to seize shipments of Playstation 3s after LG won a preliminary injunction against Sony in an acrimonious patent battle between the two Asian electronics giants.
The ruling by the civil court of justice in the Hague means that all new PS3s have to be confiscated as they are imported into the UK and the rest of Europe for at least 10 days.
If the injunction was extended it could mean consoles disappearing from high street shelves. It is understood that Sony and computer games retailers typically have about two to three weeks' worth of PS3s in stock across the continent.
Tens of thousands of PS3s were seized by customs officers last week in the Netherlands, the Guardian has learnt, in a dispute that centres on Sony's allegedly infringing use of Blu-ray technology belonging to LG.
Sony, which imports around 100,000 of the consoles a week, is frantically trying to get the ban lifted. The Japanese company has the right to appeal to the European patents office.
After spending years trying to catch up to Microsoft and the Xbox 360, Sony was finally making up ground in the high-definition console market. It did so with strategic price drops, hardware bundles and current and future console exclusives. It probably wouldn't have ever caught up with Microsoft, but it was seeing much improved sales after these long-needed moves were bearing fruit.
If LG gets the injunction extended for longer than 10 days, one of Sony's major territories could see PlayStation 3 supply dwindle to nothing allowing retailers to raise prices due to increased demand and in turn cause consumers to turn to outlets like eBay to get the console. Microsoft, and perhaps even Nintendo, could try to swoop in and snatch consumers unwilling to wait for the situation to correct itself.
Sony does have a hand to play. It can (and has) counter sue LG and do a number of things in court that law firms giddy. And after the 10 day injunction this could all be over. When the dust clears this could just a hiccup in the life of the PlayStation 3. It's just too early to tell.
Source: The Guardian