Sony Computer Entertainment in Australia is facing the real risk that shipments of their new PlayStation 3 will be seized by customs after LG was granted an injunction against Sony in Europe and are now looking to extend their action to other markets.Overnight the civil court of justice in the Hague has granted LG a preliminary injunction that will see all new PlayStation 3s imported into Europe confiscated by customs for at least ten days. LG has said that they intend to make similar applications in other markets including Australia.
LG claims that the Sony PS3s infringe a number of its patents relating to playback of Blu-ray Discs.
Sony is said to be “frantically” trying to get the ban lifted, but it isn’t making any public comments on the matter at the moment.
LG is not saying, at this stage, whether they plan to take any action in Australia after their parent company initiated an investigation into the PS3’s Blu-ray use in a filing with the US international trade commission earlier this month.
The application sought a “permanent exclusion order … excluding entry into the United States” of the games console.
They also lodged a similar application in Europe which has resulted in the overnight seizure of PS3 units.
The seized stock is being held in a Dutch warehouse, with several observers claiming that there remains a real possibility that the injunction will be extended even further, which would almost certainly lead to a shortage of PS3s on store shelves.
The Japanese company has the right to appeal to the European patents office or cut a deal with LG.
If Sony is found to have infringed LG patents, it could be forced to compensate the South Korean manufacturer for each PS3 it has sold around the world, which could cost hundreds of millions of pounds.