updated 02:30 pm EDT, Tue July 31, 2007
PS3 processor patent suit
Sony is facing a lawsuit over the Cell processor, the heart of the PlayStation 3 game console. The case was filed through the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, and accuses Sony of violating a 1991 patent by International Parallel Machines, now owned by the Parallel Processing Corporation. It documents a technology for "synchronized parallel processing with shared memory" -- a concept difficult to implement at its origins, but which is now one of many options available. PPC is seeking damages plus legal fees, as well as an injunction against future infringements.
The focus of the suit is peculiar, as Sony did not actually invent the Cell processor. That claim belongs to IBM, which also incorporates the Cell into its blade servers. Parallel processing, meanwhile, has been developed independently by other companies, such as Intel and Toshiba. Income from a PPC victory or settlement could be used attack a variety of organizations.
For Sony the suit is one of several the company has to deal with in recent years, the most notable being for the materials in its Blu-Ray discs and the force-feedback components used in its Dual Shock gamepads. [via ArsTechnica]