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Sony sues another software firm over PlayStation emulator

The company files a suit against Bleem for allegedly infringing patents covering audio and visual elements of the home video-game system.

Sony is suing another software developer for allegedly infringing patents with a program designed to allow PlayStation games to be played on a PC.

Sony's suit against Los Angeles-based Bleem comes after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco lifted a preliminary injunction that barred Bleem from using images of PlayStation video games in ads.

Sony has filed numerous other actions against Bleem claiming copyright infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets. Bleem creatively countered with an antitrust claim alleging Sony holds an illegal monopoly in the video game business.

The company's main product is a software program that allows discs written for Sony's PlayStation game console to run on a PC. The company recently released another version that allows PlayStation games to be played on Sega Dreamcast consoles.

The Bleem case is similar to Sony's ongoing legal struggle with Connectix, whose Virtual Game Station software allows PlayStation titles to run on Windows or Mac PCs. A federal judge recently dismissed seven of nine counts Sony has brought against Connectix, with decisions expected soon on the remaining trade secret and unfair competition claims and a separate patent infringement case.

Sony, the world's second-largest consumer electronics company, accuses Bleem of infringing patents covering audio and visual elements of the best-selling home video-game system in the world. Sony also had sued Bleem last year for using PlayStation images to compare the performance of Sony's console against Bleem's software emulator.

A Bleem spokesman said the company would have no immediate comment on the suit, which was filed last week in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

The PlayStation made its debut in 1994 and propelled Tokyo-based Sony to the top of a market previously dominated by Nintendo. Sony's suit seeks unspecified damages and a court order that would prohibit Bleem from infringing the patents.

News.com staff contributed to this story.

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