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Jury slaps Sony with $82 million verdict

A jury finds that Sony's PlayStation unit infringed on two patents owned by force-feedback specialist Immersion.

Immersion, a maker of force-feedback joysticks, said Wednesday that a jury on Tuesday found that Sony's PlayStation unit infringed on its patents and awarded the company $82 million.

The jury found that Sony Computer Entertainment infringed on two Immersion patents. However, the San Jose, Calif., company cautioned that the judge has not yet entered a verdict in the case and said it expects post-trial motions from Sony. The case was heard in U.S. District Court for the Northern District Court of California.

Immersion said it will ask the court to issue a permanent injunction to bar future infringement.

In a statement, Sony said it would appeal the verdict.

"While we appreciate the hard work of the court and the jury, we are, of course, disappointed and disagree with the outcome," Sony said. "Patent cases are highly technical and extremely difficult and too often wrongly decided."

Sony is not the first company to find itself in Immersion's legal crosshairs. Microsoft last year paid $26 million to settle a patent infringement claim filed by Immersion.

Immersion is a specialist in what is known as haptic technology, which uses the sense of touch to expand interactions between humans and computers. Among the uses for the technology are joysticks that shudder to simulate motion within a game.

Immersion sued Microsoft and Sony in 2002 and has also licensed its technology to companies including Logitech and Kensington.

Shares of Immersion rose on Wednesday, following news of the verdict. The company's stock changed hands at $6.29, up 47 cents or 8 percent.