updated 03:15 pm EDT, Fri April 24, 2009
Inventor Sues Sony
Virtual Reality Feedback head and inventor Craig Thorner this week sued Sony's PlayStation divisions in Japan and the US, as well as PDP/Electro Source and multiple attorneys, over the alleged theft of intellectual property relating to force feedback technology that would ultimately be used in the DualShock 3 controller for later PlayStation 3 consoles. New Jersey-based Thorner claims that Sony violated trust by failing to defend him and his patents against lawsuits from Immersion.
The plaintiff says that, during Immersion's original lawsuit against Sony for violating patents with the original DualShock controller, he had originally licensed his patents to Immersion. Not being aware of a joint defense agreement between Sony and PDP, which was also sued by Immersion after Sony initially lost its case, Thorner switched his patent license to PDP. He claims that Sony unfairly exploited his unawareness of the defense deal with PDP and let him offer his patents for a too-low $150,000 when he would have been entitled to more.
Thorner claims to have a transfer showing Sony wiring PDP $150,000 to effectively keep silent on its link to the PlayStation maker, giving it enough money to pay for the patent license without having to turn to Sony for help. He also contends that a Sony attorney misled him by falsely promising to defend Thorner against an Immersion lawsuit, which followed after PDP settled with Immersion.
None of the companies involved have commented on the claims.