Immersion to fight Microsoft lawsuit

Immersion will "vigorously" fight Microsoft's breach-of-contract lawsuit regarding "haptic" technology that gives tactile feedback to mice and joysticks.

Immersion vowed Tuesday to fight Microsoft's breach-of-contract lawsuit regarding "haptic" technology that endows mice and joysticks with tactile feedback such as shaking and jerking.

"Immersion intends to defend this lawsuit vigorously," the San Jose, Calif.-based company said Tuesday.

Immersion sued Microsoft and Sony for patent infringement in 2002, but both suits were settled. Through a resulting sublicense agreement with Microsoft, Immersion agreed to pay Microsoft for any fee amounts from Sony in the event of a settlement with that company. That issue now is at issue in the breach-of-contract suit Microsoft filed against Immersion on Monday.

"Immersion believes that it is not obligated under the sublicense agreement with Microsoft to make any payment to Microsoft relating to the conclusion of its litigation with Sony Computer Entertainment," Immersion said in a statement.

Also according to the company, "In the event of a settlement with Sony Computer Entertainment, Immersion is obligated to pay Microsoft a minimum of $15 million for any amounts received from Sony up to $100 million, plus 25 percent of any amounts over $100 million up to $150 million, and 17.5 percent of any amounts over $150 million."

But the company avoided the term "settlement" in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing (PDF) filed in May, as reported by Todd Bishop at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

"As of March 19, 2007, we and Sony Computer Entertainment entered into a new business agreement to explore the inclusion of our technology in PlayStation format products. We have determined that we are not obligated under our agreements with Microsoft to make any payment to Microsoft relating to the conclusion of our litigation with Sony Computer Entertainment," Immersion said. "However, in a letter sent to us dated May 1, 2007, Microsoft disputed our position and stated that it believes we owe Microsoft at least $27.5 million. If Microsoft brings a lawsuit to further dispute our position, we intend to oppose Microsoft's claims and vigorously defend our position."

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About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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