What Sony’s Victory Against LG Means

March 10, 2011Written by Sebastian Moss

Moments ago, a court in The Netherlands ruled against LG in an ongoing patent battle against Sony. Freeing up PS3s in the country – and therefore Europe – the move was a major victory for the Japanese technology giant, but Sony are by no means in the clear, with LG still set to push for royalties that could be as high as $350 million. To find out what the case could mean, and just how close Sony were to losing, PlayStation LifeStyle talked to award winning intellectual property activist, author and FOSS Patents blogger Florian Mueller.

In a statement, Florian told us:

It was of the utmost importance for Sony to achieve this decision. Sony wants a comprehensive settlement of all patent disputes between the two companies and now it will be able to seek such a solution without being under pressure. I believe Sony is particularly interested in collecting royalties on LG’s smartphones.

As Florian had an inside source watching the court case we asked how close the verdict actually was, and whether it was a clear cut victory from the start, or whether Sony managed to pull a victory from the skin of their teeth. Mueller replied:

When the judge announced a recess, most people in the room thought he was going to return and uphold the order for the time being. This was a surprising turn of events in Sony’s favor.

We also asked if LG would continue to push for $350 million.

I’m sure their demands are the same, but they now have less leverage than before.

Florian also commented on whether the ruling boded well for Sony in future cases:

That depends on the details of the ruling, which I don’t know yet. If the court established some principles that will also be relevant to many other cases, then the answer is yes.

And if the fines placed on LG were reasonable:

Those fines are of a purely theoretical nature. I’m sure LG will comply with the ruling.

LG will likely continue to press Sony for financial reimbursement over the claimed patent infringements, but such rulings will be far more drawn out than the quick prejudgement case held today.