Sony Computer Entertainment might yet again be returning to the courtroom over the patents that were used to create "Force Feedback" in their Dual-shock line of controllers.
The trouble with "Force Feedback" patents started back in 2002 when Immersion sued both Microsoft and Sony over the use of Immersions vibration functionality in both their controller designs, Nintendo however were left out of the firing line by using an add on for the vibration function.
Microsoft later settled out of court with Immersion and bought a 10% share in the company, Sony however decided to go to court and in 2006 were ordered to pay Immersion the money they were due, which came to a total of $90.7 million.
They later appealed and lost the case, at which point they made a deal with Immersion to license the patents for use in their Playstation 3 Controller, which had since launch been stripped of the Vibrating Functionality, creating the Dual-shock 3 which is now on sale and comes as standard with the Playstation 3.
Now Sony might be back in the spot light as Craig Thorner, an engineer who holds patents to some feedback technology, wants to take Sony and a second company, Performance Designed Products LLC (PDP), to court over possible secret dealings between them.
Thorner was used during the Sony vs. Immersion case as Sony's defence using Patents that he held the rights to, after the case had finished, PDP made contact with Thorner to seek assistance in their current lawsuit with Immersion. The same lawyers who had defended Sony previously were then used again by PDP and Thorner to work out a deal over his Patent license.
The lawsuit filed in New Jersey from Thorner alleges that Sony and Performance Designed Products worked together, using the same lawyers as Sony's previous case, to get a hold of his patents and pay him a substantially less fee than he deserved.
He now wants to take both companies back to court, Sony for Patent Infringement and PDP for legal malpractice, and get back the money and royalties he is owed.