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Report: PS3 shipments blocked in EU over legal dispute

by Steve Watts, Feb 28, 2011 3:30pm PST

European customs officials will be seizing shipments of PlayStation 3s, at least for the time being, due to a preliminary injunction granted in a legal dispute with LG. The Guardian reports that the civil court of justice in the Hague ruled that new PS3s have to be confiscated for at least 10 days if they are to be imported into Europe.

The ruling is part of a patent dispute over the use of Blu-ray technology in the PS3. LG argues that Sony's player violates four patents: two on data reproduction, one regarding multiple camera angles, and one on text subtitles.

Sony is appealing the court's decision. The company currently imports about 100,000 consoles per week, and reportedly keeps stores stocked with two to three weeks worth of consoles. LG could also argue for an extension of the import ban, to make the period longer than 10 days.

If Sony is found to be infringing on LG patents, it may have to pay LG a fee for each PS3 it has sold and will sell. The report did not clarify whether this would apply to European or worldwide sales. Sony filed a similar complaint against LG, attempting to block the sale of some mobile phones in the US.

Shacknews has asked Sony to comment on the matter but have yet to hear back at the time of publishing.