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Sony hit with another patent infringement suit

Evan Blass
07.17.06
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More legal woes for Sony: the computing and consumer electronics giant is being sued by Pennsylvania-based Agere Systems over a number of devices spanning several product categories that, you guessed it, may be infringing upon some eight different Agere patents. Specifically, Agere is claiming that the PSP, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation 3 -- along with several Vaio, Handycam, Walkman, and Location Free TV models -- are in violation of patents covering such varied technologies as a "wireless local area network apparatus" and "barrier layer treatments for tungsten plugs," whatever those are. Furthermore, the integrated circuit component manufacturer believes that Sony "willfully" violated the patents, and is thus seeking damages that could end up being three times what non-willful infringements would warrant. For its part, Sony is putting up a multi-pronged defense: its lawyers are first trying to get a judge to invalidate all of the patents and make the whole mess go away quickly; but if they do turn out to be valid, Sony is claiming that it's in the clear anyway due to cross-licensing deals dating back to 1989 with AT&T and Lucent Technologies (from whom Agere was spun off) that cover seven of the eight patents in question. Our uninformed legal opinion? Without knowing all of the specifics, it's difficult to ascertain who's got the stronger case here, but we can say that Sony's recent track record in fighting infringement accusations hasn't exactly been spotless, so as much as we'd love to cover yet another ugly, drawn-out court battle, maybe a quick settlement is the way to go with this one.

[Via PSP Fanboy]

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