Given its global position as an electronics giant, Sony is quite familiar with patent law and the potential penalties for infringement.
Barely three months ago, Sony paid $97 million in damages and interest to Immersion in a dispute over the rumble functions in Sony's Dual Shock controllers. And while the two companies have since patched things up, Sony opted to leave rumble by the wayside when it was designing the PlayStation 3's motion-sensing Sixaxis controller.
The electronics giant hasn't been able to entirely avoid patent headaches since then, however, as Irvine, Calif.-based Target Technology filed suit earlier this month, seeking damages for alleged patent violations related to Sony's Blu-ray technology, which is used in the PS3 system.
The suit, which names Sony Computer Entertainment America, Sony Pictures and Sony DADC, claims that products marketed under the Blu-ray name infringe on a patent Target owns for reflective-layer materials in optical discs. The patent addresses what Target called a need for specific types of silver-based alloys with the advantages (but not the price) of gold. According to the patent, the alloys are also more resistant to corrosion than pure silver.
Target does not specify in its suit whether it believes all of Sony's Blu-ray discs infringe on the Target patent or whether the suit applies to just a portion of the discs manufactured. The patent was filed in April of 2004 and granted in March of 2006.
Target is seeking a permanent injunction that would prevent Sony from violating Target patent rights in the future, as well as damages, with interest, multiplied due to what Target characterizes as deliberate and willful infringement.
Sony representatives declined to comment. Target's attorneys had not returned GameSpot's requests for comment before press time.
Brendan Sinclair reported for GameSpot.