In 2007, Sony settled a long-running dispute with Immersion, a company holding patents for control pad rumble technology. The world moved on. But now, the lawsuit (or at least part of it) is back.
A guy by the name of Craig Thorner, an engineer who held a few patents related to rumble tech, was a witness in the case, who helped Sony in their attempts to " invalidate Immersion's patents".
Now, two years later, Thorner is suing Sony.
He claims that, shortly after the original Sony/Immersion suit was filed, a company by the name of Performance Designed Products LLC got in touch with him, claiming that, like Sony, they'd been targeted by Immersion's lawyers. PDP asked for his help.
In the process of providing that help, Thorner says he licensed some of his own patents to PDP, and in doing so enlisted the help of some lawyers. The same lawyers who, it turns out, were in the process of handling Sony's case against Immersion. Those lawyers, Thorner alleges, "encouraged him to accept terms that were less than favorable".
Those terms included a big reduction in the amount of royalty fees he was asking for, along with a provision that would allow not just PDP - but, importantly, Sony as well - to licence his patents.
Thorner is now accusing Sony and PDP of working together, scheming to acquire his patents on the cheap, and is suing the pair of them for legal malpractice, as well as suing Sony for patent infringement.
Sony/Immersion: The Plot Thickens [Patent Arcade]