Sony is facing legal action from a Californian company over claims of patent infringement in its use of Blu-ray technology in the PlayStation 3 games console. Target Technology is demanding that three Sony-related companies stop manufacturing and distributing all Blu-ray discs. The firm alleges that the technology used to manufacture Blu-ray discs violates one of its patents.
The California firm filed its complaint in the US District Court for the Southern District of Indiana against Sony Computer Entertainment America, Sony Pictures and Sony DADC. Target is demanding that Sony stops manufacturing what it says are patent-infringing Blu-ray discs and is seeking significant damages for the alleged infringement.
Target specialises in manufacturing and selling thin metallic alloys for optical discs. It's not clear if Target's allegations relate specifically to PlayStation 3 discs or all Sony Blu-ray discs.
Target's patent, which was submitted in 2004 and granted in 2006, describes the use of silver-based alloys, which have the advantages of gold in the production of the discs, but at a lower cost.
The lawsuit comes just three months after Sony settled a patent dispute with Immersion over the rumble function in Sony's Dual Shock controllers for the firm's earlier games consoles but not the PlayStation 3. The rumble with Immersion cost the firm U$97m. Sony also recently settled a dispute with Kodak over 10 digital camera patents.
While this new lawsuit may deal a hard blow to the supporters of Blu-ray technology, they have been given reason to be cheerful as the path towards legal copying of Blu-ray discs appears to be opening.
The Advanced Access Content System (AACS) is a new standard for content distribution and digital rights management that will allow limited sharing and copying of Blu-ray and HD DVD discs. Production studios hope to conclude a deal to provide the standard in time for this year's Christmas shopping period.
If the agreement goes through consumers will be able to make copies of discs they have purchased by using an AACS enabled disc. This managed copy system will limit the number of copies users are able to make of discs.
The launch of AACS has been delayed by multiple hacking attacks to the system."It is disruptive to respond to the various attacks. It means we're putting aside finalizing the agreements and getting managed copy out," Michael Ayers, spokesperson for the AACS Licencing Authority.