PS3 shipments seized by customs after LG alleges Sony stole its Blu-ray tech

Sony PlayStation 3 consoles coming into Europe are being seized by customs officials, as a legal battle between LG and Sony heats up. LG claims Sony's Blu-ray tech infringes its patents.

Luke Westaway Senior editor
Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.
Luke Westaway
2 min read

The UK and the rest of Europe could be facing a PlayStation drought, as LG, which accuses Sony of infringing its Blu-ray patents, has won a preliminary injunction to have all new PlayStation 3s entering Europe confiscated for at least the next 10 days.

Last week, tens of thousands of PS3s were seized by customs officers in the Netherlands, The Guardian reports. Retailers in Europe generally have a few weeks' worth of stock backed up, so in a fortnight or so we could see PS3 reserves running dry. Currently the consoles are holed up in Dutch warehouses.

The spat between the two tech giants is because LG reckons Sony is using its own patented Blu-ray tech in the PS3. This injunction is part of an ongoing legal fracas between the two companies, in which LG asked that the PS3's Blu-ray tech be investigated.

Sony is obviously keen to get this ban lifted, as it imports around 100,000 consoles to the region every week. LG could in theory go further still -- extending the ban, or even asking that all the confiscated units be destroyed. That's probably unlikely, however.

If Sony loses the case it could be made to compensate LG for every PS3 sold, which would cost Sony hundreds of millions of dollars.

Tech companies are always suing each other over some old thing -- indeed, Sony is trying to stop LG selling smart phones in the US -- but it's quite unusual for physical units to be confiscated. This particular battle seems to be getting a little dirtier.

We'll let you know what's going on as soon as we hear more -- keep your peepers right here on Crave for all the latest.

Image credit: Flickr user stebulus