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Microsoft sues Immersion for contract breach

The software maker says that the force-feedback technology company is not living up to terms of a 2003 legal settlement

Microsoft said on Monday that it has filed suit against Immersion, a company whose technology adds tactile feedback to joysticks and other controllers.

Immersion had originally sued Microsoft, along with Sony, back in 2002., but the two companies reached a settlement in 2003. Under that deal Microsoft agreed to pay Immersion $26 million for licensing rights and for a stake in the company. However, Microsoft said Monday that Immersion has not lived up other terms of that deal, including a provision that requires Immersion to pay Microsoft "based on certain business and IP licensing arrangements."

"We entered into a binding licensing agreement with Immersion and are seeking to have that agreement honored," Microsoft Associate General Counsel Steve Aeschbacher said in a statement. "Microsoft licenses technology both in and out and relies on these agreements to be honored and enforced. Our request to the court is that all companies and industry partners should play by the same rules and that the binding agreement we signed with Immersion be honored."

An Immersion representative could not immediately be reached for comment.

Update 10:00 p.m.: Todd Bishop at the Seattle P-I has done some good digging to get at the heart of the dispute using court and regulatory filings. It appears Microsoft had a clause that it stood to get payments if Immersion and Sony settled. Sony and Immersion reached an arrangement, but Microsoft and Immersion dispute the implications of that. For more, check out Todd's blog on the matter.'s Stephen Shankland contributed to this report