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.