Sony withdraws more claims in Connectix case

The move is a further victory for Connectix in a legal battle that it has been fighting with SCEI and Sony Computer Entertainment America since early 1999. The spat erupted after Connectix launched a software emulator that allows users of Windows and Macintosh-based personal computers to play most games designed for the PlayStation console.

"It was entirely expected and what we anticipated," said Roy McDonald, president and chief executive officer of Connectix. "The case is starting to wind down a bit, I think. I hope Sony will see it's better to join us than fight us."

With the latest move, Sony has withdrawn 11 patent claims that were part of a second suit filed against Connectix. Seven of nine claims were previously withdrawn from the initial suit filed by Sony, leaving two remaining to be put before a hearing scheduled for September 1.

"In the first lawsuit, seven of the nine are gone," said McDonald. "Of the two, one was to do with trade secrets, and it was sufficiently unclear to the judge that he decided to take another 90 days to clarify, which doesn't sound to me like there is much of a strong case. The other is to do with interference with contract, and there is no base for that unless the other claims succeed."

A spokesman for SCEI in Tokyo confirmed the withdrawal of the claims but could offer little more information.

"We have voluntarily dismissed those claims as they are in that state," SCEI spokesman Benjamin Gurnsey said. He was unable to confirm whether the claims would be resubmitted in a further lawsuit or have been completely withdrawn.

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