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7/31/2007
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Company Sues Sony, Wants PlayStation 3s 'Impounded And Destroyed'

Parallel Processing Corp. says the cell processor developed by Sony, Toshiba, and IBM violates its patent for 'synchronized parallel processing with shared memory.'

Parallel Processing Corp. is asking a federal court to order Sony to destroy its PlayStation 3 videogame consoles, which PPC claims infringes on its patents for microprocessor technology.

PPC filed the lawsuit last week in U.S. District Court in Tyler, Texas. The suit claims that the cell processor, developed by Sony, Toshiba, and IBM, violates PPC's patent for "synchronized parallel processing with shared memory." The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted the patent in October 1991.

Sony on Tuesday didn't respond to a request for comment.

The PPC technology breaks up a program into individual tasks, which are executed in parallel on separate processors. The technology speeds up the time it takes to execute an application. Because of the alleged infringement, PPC is seeking damages and wants all PlayStation 3s "impounded and destroyed."

The PlayStation 3's central processing unit, called the Cell Broadband Engine, is one of the most advanced components in the videogame console. The cell provides the equivalent computing power of eight individual microprocessors and is a major contributor to the cost of the console.

The lawsuit isn't the first involving the PlayStation. Sony this year agreed to pay Immersion $150.3 million to end a suit filed in federal court in Oakland, Calif. A jury in 2004 found Sony guilty of patent infringement. The case was on appeal when Sony settled.

The suit stemmed from Sony's use of Immersion software that causes the PlayStation controller to vibrate in sync with the videogame action. The so-called haptic technology was used in PlayStation and PlayStation 2 models.

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