Sony PlayStation 3 No Longer Banned in Netherlands

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Wait, you hadn't heard Sony's PlayStation 3 was banned in the Netherlands? Well it was, however briefly, thanks to a court order earlier this month that temporarily froze imports of the game console, culminating in the impounding of some 300,000 systems. Believe it or not, the same court order also allowed LG to seize newly purchased PS3s already in Dutch homes.

Sony imports some 100,000 PS3s to Europe every week. No big deal, right? Except for the fact that most of those systems enter Europe through The Netherlands.

The Netherlands Hague Court just dismissed the 10-day import injunction, and those 300,000 systems are now free to resume travel. But the injunction was just a preliminary salvo in a bitter licensing dispute that's ongoing between South Korean electronics manufacturer LG and Sony Corp.

At stake, a bunch of patents, as well as who-knows-how-much money in fines, royalties, and settlement fees (if indeed any settlements can be reached). Sony alleged back in December that LG was using Sony-patented technology in several of its phones without Sony's permission. In early February, LG countered by claiming Sony's Blu-ray drive infringes on several LG patents for Blu-ray playback.

Were LG to win, Sony would have to pay royalties on every PS3 that uses the technology (or every PS3 sold), a pretty bleak scenario for Sony given their install base worldwide--nearly 50 million sold--and slender system profit margins.

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