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PlayStation 3 imports banned in Europe

The patent dispute between electronics giants Sony and LG over the Blu-ray playback capabilities of Sony’s PlayStation 3 console is now hitting Sony in the marketplace: LG had won a 10-day ban on the importation of Sony’s PlayStation 3 gaming console into Europe—and the ban could be extended. Customs officials in Holland have reportedly already seized tens of thousands of the gaming consoles, and industry estimates place the number of PS3 units imported into Europe as high as 100,000 per week.

The injunction was granted to LG by a Dutch civil court in The Hague over accusations the Blu-ray drives in the PS3 consoles infringe on LG patents related to pulling data off the disc and handling multiple data streams. The current ban will be in effect for ten days, during which time Sony can appeal the injunction. The injunction raises the stakes for LG: if its patents are found to be invalid, the company will be on the hook for damages done to Sony’s PS3 business as a result of the court’s action.

LG has also filed for a similar injunction in the United States.

The legal dispute between Sony and LG over PS3 Blu-ray drives is generally being viewed in the context of a larger dispute between Sony and LG; Sony has accused LG of infringing on several Sony mobile technology patents.