In a move that will exempt Sony's Playstation 2 from European tariffs, the European Court of First Instance ruled Tuesday that the device is a computer, not a video game.
The European Commission defined Playstation 2 as a game for the purposes of setting import tariffs in March 2000. Sony appealed that decision in July 2001. Games imported into the Union must pay a tariff but computers can be imported tariff free.
The Court said in a statement that it annulled the Commission's classification of Playstation 2 and ordered the Commission to pay all the costs of the appeal.
Sony declined to comment. The Commission declined to comment on how much the company will be reimbursed for the duties it paid since July 2001. It also declined to comment on the cost of the Court appeal.
"We will have to study the ruling," said Commission spokesman Jonathan Todd.
He added that the issue would soon become academic, as tariffs on games are rapidly being reduced. In 2000 they stood at 2 percent of the retail price of the product. This year they amount to 0.6 percent and at the beginning of next year the tariff will be scrapped completely.