We reported before that LG filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission seeking to ban Sony’s PlayStation 3 game consoles from entering the U.S. due to alleged patent infringements. At the time we thought actual bans would be unlikely, but it looks like LG has won a preliminary injunction against Sony not in the U.S., but in Europe. LG alleges that Sony has infringed on a number of their Blu-ray technology patents. The ruling made by the civil court of justice in Hague means that all new PS3s must be confiscated when they are imported into the UK and the rest of Europe for a minimum of 10 days. Tens of thousands of PS3s have already been seized in by customs officers.
Sony can appeal to have the ban lifted, but LG can also apply to have the 10-day import ban extended. If the injunction is extended, it could mean that Sony’s PS3 games and consoles could start disappearing from retail shelves across Europe. And if Sony is found guilty for infringing on LG’s patents, they could be forced to compensate LG for each PS3 sold around the world.
The battle is fierce between the two Asian electronics giants involving seven different patent disputes, with Sony trying to block shipments of LG smartphones from entering the US. Neither company has made any official announcements or comments regarding the situation. If the ban is not lifted, Sony’s stockpiles in the UK and around Europe could run out within two to three weeks.