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Sony sued for cheating man out of rumble patents

Nilay Patel
04.24.09
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Two years after we thought it was all over, it sounds like the saga of Sony, Immersion, and the rumblin' DualShock has yet another chapter: a New Jersey electrical engineer named Craig Thorner is now suing Sony and its attorneys, claiming that he was more or less duped out of one of his patents in a shady deal designed to help Sony and PDP/Electrosource beat Immersion's cases against them. Oh yeah, it's a tangled mess -- Thorner first signed over his patent to Immersion, hoping to score a little slice of royalty pie when the lawsuit settled, but then took it back when he decided Immersion wasn't pursuing it hard enough and signed it over to PDP/Electrosource, who promised him $150,000. So where does Sony come in? Thorner says PDP and Sony were teamed up to beat Immersion, and that Sony was secretly the one licensing the patent but trying to remain out of the picture to keep the price down -- and he's got proof, in the form of a $150,000 wire transfer between the two companies. Not only that, but Sony's attorneys apparently promised Thorner that they could "wear two hats" during negotiations and represent both him and Sony, which is ten kinds of shady. You can guess what happened next: Sony lost, PDP settled, and Immersion sued Thorner for breaking his agreement -- and Sony's attorneys didn't help him defend the lawsuit. Did we say ten kinds of shady? Eleven kinds. Of course, it's doubtful that Thorner is totally innocent here, so it'll be interesting to see how Sony responds, but at this point we're treating the DualShock 3 as a miracle of nature and leaving it at that.

[Via Joystiq]

Read - GamePolitics article (with PDF of the complaint)
Read - Law.com article

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