LG-led ban on PS3 consoles lifted by courts

An attempt to ban the import and sale of PlayStation 3 consoles by LG Electronics over the alleged illegal use of patented technology by Sony has ended in expensive failure for LG.

The company accused Sony of using Blu-ray playback technology that LG had patented without paying for the privilege, and attempted to pressure Sony into coughing up by applying for a preliminary injunction against the import and sale of PS3s - a move which worked, with customs officials throughout Europe seizing PS3s at the borders.

Some countries went a step further, with Dutch police receiving a court order which could have allowed them to seize consoles which had already been sold to the public - a move which would likely have gone down about as well as a glass of cold sick.

The courts have now reviewed the case and come down on Sony's side, lifting the injunction and leaving LG holding a massive €130,000 - or around £112,000 - bill for costs. While the court's decision is good news for retailers, who have been running low on stocks of the console since the original injunction was issued, it's a blow for LG - but is unlikely to stop the company from pursuing its patent claim through other avenues.

Should LG finally win the patent battle, Sony will be on the hook for some major damages backdated to the launch of the PlayStation 3 - figures that will make LG's legal bill look like pocket change. If LG continues to fight, however, it runs the risk of losing - and receiving yet more legal fees on top of those it already owes.

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