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U.S. District Court, Northern District of California

The plaintiff, a corporation which develops haptic technologies, brought suit in ________ against the defendants for patent infringement. The patents involved tactile feedback to computer users. The defendant denied any patent infringement.

The plaintiff, a corporation which develops haptic (or tactile) feedback technologies, licenses its patents for use by various businesses for implementation in a variety of products in all fields. In this matter, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant Sony committed patent infringement as it related to two of the plaintiff’s patents covering methods and systems for providing tactile feedback to users of computer programs. The patents at issue were U.S. Patent nos. ________ and ________, which describe and claim systems and methods using spinning mass motors for creating a wide range of vibratory sensations in coordination with computer simulations.

Sixteen claims were asserted. The specific products claimed to have infringed were Sony’s PlayStation video game systems which included the video game consoles "Dual Shock" controllers and a list of games which utilized the Dual Shock controller technology. Generally speaking, the accused Sony PlayStation systems control two spinning mass motors of different sizes in the Dual Shock controllers to create a wide variety of tactile sensations corresponding to events in the videogames such as heartbeats, different road surfaces, collisions, explosions and even horses running into the distance.

The defendants denied infringement and also argued that the plaintiff asserted patent claims were invalid. The defendants argued that the patents were invalid, as anticipated or obvious, in light of several items of prior art. The plaintiff offered testimony explaining how the prior art was different and that several of the references on which the defendant relied were considered by the patent office during the prosecution of the patents.

The trial in this case lasted for five weeks. At its conclusion, the jury deliberated for six days prior to returning its unanimous verdict in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendants. The jury awarded the plaintiff the sum of $________ in damages. There are various post-judgment applications pending.

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