PlayStation 3 European imports banned (for now)

Any PlayStation 3 consoles that are imported into Europe and the UK will be seized by customs for at least 10 days. The news follows a court battle where LG won a preliminary injunction against PlayStation manufacturer Sony.

PlayStation 3

Does this use LG's technology?

The dispute involves Blu-ray patents, with the civil court in the Hague finding in favour of LG. The restrictions have already seen “tens of thousands” of PlayStation units confiscated in the Netherlands last week, according to [surl=]The Guardian[/surl], which also reports that UK retailers may only have two to three weeks worth of stock (Sony typically imports 100,000 units into Britain each week).

While Sony has the right to appeal (and get the ban lifted), LG also has the option to extend the ban – which would effectively see consoles start disappearing from stores. That’s still better than another option open to the Korean company – to destroy all warehoused consoles (rest assured, it’s fairly unlikely that any court would grant this request).

The court is currently trying to determine whether or not the PS3 infringes on LG‘s patents, when it comes to playback of Blu-ray discs. If Sony really has used the technology without permission, the company could be forced to pay compensation – for every single unit that has been sold around the world.

And if you’re feeling a bit smug in the US, don’t get too comfy. LG has also taken action against Sony in North America, trying to get the PlayStation 3 banned there as well, in addition to the company’s Bravia televisions, which also feature Blu-ray support.

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