Immersion Settles Up With Microsoft: Hands Over $20.75 Million Of Money It Got From Sony

from the patent-dealing dept

Apparently this is the week for force feedback “haptics” company Immersion to settle its various patent lawsuits. We already noted the infamous teledildonics case has been settled and now it’s settled an ongoing lawsuit with Microsoft as well. We wrote about the details back in May. It’s a case that highlights just how wasteful some patent lawsuits can be.

In this case, Immersion had sued both Sony and Microsoft for violating its patents, and it offered them a deal that’s becoming all too typical: giving competitors a chance to settle first in order to join the other side of the case. It’s a neat trick. Basically, you tell both sides that they can just pay up, and close out the case, while also getting the chance to claim some of that money back if Immersion wins against their competitor. Of course, Immersion took it to another level after Microsoft agreed to this deal, originally handing over to Immersion $26 million. After it got Sony to pay $130 million, it told Microsoft that the deal wasn’t technically a “settlement,” and thus it was excluded from the terms of the deal it gave Microsoft. Hence the lawsuit from Microsoft.

This latest settlement has Immersion apparently realizing it was never going to win the case, and forking over $20.75 million back to Microsoft, ostensibly from its winnings against Sony. It makes you wonder what’s up that Immersion seems to be rushing to settle its various cases. Either way, it shows another aspect of how the patent abuse game is played these days, with patent holders pitting competitors against each other to pressure companies into settling.

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Companies: immersion, microsoft, sony

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Comments on “Immersion Settles Up With Microsoft: Hands Over $20.75 Million Of Money It Got From Sony”

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Allen (profile) says:

three ways to play and win!!!

You can’t win in the innovation stakes by yourself? Buy yourself a second change lucky draw ticket through the patents office!

You think your idea is so obvious you’re embarrassed to call it an innovation? Buy a ticket in the patents office lottery any, the odds are good and you’ve got to be in it to win it!

Find yourself innovatively challenged? Our lottery tickets are fully transferable on the secondary market and going for a song. You too can win in the patent office lottery!

Three ways to play, innovation optional.

Anonymous Coward says:

I really dont understand?

I am confused as to how Immersion got a patent in 2000 for something that I had already been using for nearly 9 years at that point (it had been marketed as part of the Playstation for 4 or 5 years already at that point)? I must assume that thier patent is “legit” as why else would they be able to win these suits (at least the one against SONY). However I also have to wonder, if thier patent is legit, why wouldnt SONY and Microsoft just pay them in the first place (both refused initially, Microsoft later settled)? I know SONY initially didnt use thier tech at all on the PS3, but Microsoft launched the 360 with rumble in 2005, I dont believe they settled with Immersion until 2006?

Can anyone explain the full series of events here (or point me to the right place to find out)?

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