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Reports: PlayStation 3 shipments seized in Europe

Customs officers there have been ordered to take possession of new shipments of the Sony game console because of a court-ordered preliminary injunction recently won by LG in a patent dispute.


PlayStation 3 shipments are being seized in Europe after LG recently won a preliminary injunction in a patent dispute with Sony, according to news reports.

The 10-day import ban on the PlayStation 3 recently went into effect when the civil court of justice in the Hague granted the injunction on shipments of the PlayStation 3 to Europe.

Last month, LG also filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), seeking to bar the importation of the console to the U.S. and to stop Sony from engaging in marketing or repair efforts related to the PlayStation 3. It also asked for an "immediate investigation" into Sony's console. So far, the PlayStation 3 is still being imported into the United States.

LG contends that it holds two patents that it believes Sony violates with its PlayStation 3. The patents relate to the way the console's Blu-ray player uses data from a Blu-ray disc, namely for the "reproduction of multiple data streams" when several camera angles are used, as well as how text is displayed with subtitles.

The consoles were first seized by customs officers last week in the Netherlands, the Guardian reported yesterday. The publication said that officers nabbed "tens of thousands" of PlayStation 3 units in that seizure.

But it's not just the Netherlands. Customs officers all over Europe, including in the U.K., have been ordered to take possession of new shipments of the PlayStation 3. The seized consoles are currently sitting in a Dutch warehouse, according to the Guardian report.

LG's issue with the PlayStation 3 followed a complaint Sony filed against LG with the ITC in late December. At the time, the company alleged that LG violates patents it holds in mobile phones. It asked the ITC to bar the sale of LG mobile phones in the United States. As of this writing, LG phones are still for sale in the U.S.

The European ban on the PlayStation 3 is in place for at least 10 days, according to the Guardian. If the ban is lifted, LG can petition the European patent office to maintain the embargo.

Sony did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNET. LG declined to comment.