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Immersion, which develops technology used in making video game controllers vibrate, has caused a legal rumble by suing Microsoft and two Sony subsidiaries for alleged infringement of its intellectual property, the company said in a statement Monday.

Immersion said it sued Microsoft, Sony Computer Entertainment and Sony Computer Entertainment of America over their alleged use of Immersion's so-called "haptic" technology in Microsoft's XBox and Sony's PlayStation and PlayStation 2, as well as associated games and devices.

Haptic technology lets users receive touch feedback from electronic devices including computer screens and mice as well as gaming hardware, according to Immersion. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Sony Computer Entertainment of America has not seen the complaint and declined to comment on it, but did assert that it does not infringe on Immersion's technology or patents, said Sony spokeswoman Monica Wik, in Foster City, California. A Microsoft Corp. spokesman declined to comment on the issue before seeing the complaint, and Sony Computer Entertainment in Tokyo could not immediately be reached for comment.

Immersion and its subsidiaries have more than 150 patents issued and 200 pending worldwide, according to the statement. The technology has been licensed to partners in the game console market as well as to PC peripherals makers Logitech Inc. and Kensington Technology Group and others, Immersion said.

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Stephen Lawson

Computerworld
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