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Sony ends PlayStation legal dispute

Sony slapped with $90m fine

Sony Computer Entertainment and Immersion have agreed to play together nicely in the computer gaming market. The two companies said today that a five-year-old legal battle between them has been settled and that they will explore ways to use Immersion's technology in PlayStation products.

The spat between the two began in February 2002 when Immersion slapped Sony and Microsoft with lawsuits that alleged infringement of patents held by Immersion on so-called haptic technology. Haptic technology lets users receive touch feedback from electronic devices and Immersion said the feedback systems built-in to controllers infringed on its technology.

Microsoft settled the case in 2003 with a one-time payment of $20m and the purchase of a roughly 10 percent stake in Immersion for $6m. But Sony decided to fight on and that decision has proven costly.

In March 2005, Judge Claudia Wilken of the US District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that Sony did infringement on two Immersion patents and ordered the company to pay $82m plus an additional $8.7m in interest.

Sony appealed the verdict, but today's agreement will see it pay up. Additional financial aspects of the agreement between the two companies were not disclosed.

In a joint statement Sony said it was "very excited" about the new partnership and looks forward " to exploring with Immersion exciting new ways to bring the largest and best range of game play experiences to our customers".

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