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Immersion To Pay Microsoft $20.75 Million To Settle 'Force Feedback' Suit

The agreement stems from a complex arrangement under which Immersion agreed to pay the software maker a portion of moneys obtained from a similar settlement with Sony.
Computer technology developer Immersion said Tuesday that it will pay Microsoft $20.75 million to settle a lawsuit.

The payment stems from a complex deal under which Immersion previously agreed to pay Microsoft a percentage of any moneys it obtained from Sony as result of a patent infringement lawsuit that Immersion filed against the Japanese electronics giant.

The deal was part of a $26 million settlement that Immersion obtained from Microsoft following a 2002 lawsuit that Immersion filed against the software maker. In the suit, Immersion claimed that force feedback technology used in Microsoft's Xbox video game console violated its patents.

Immersion last year won a similar, $22.5 million settlement from Sony after claiming that force feedback technology used in the Sony Playstation console also infringed on its patents. Immersion's settlement with Sony triggered the obligation to remit part of the funds to Microsoft, according to Microsoft attorneys.

Immersion disagreed, and the two companies ended up back in court. The matter was settled this week in U.S. District Court for Western Washington.

"We are pleased to resolve our outstanding dispute with Microsoft and to put this litigation behind us," said Immersion president and CEO Clent Richardson, in a statement. The settlement also calls for Immersion to be admitted into Microsoft's Certified Partner program.

Microsoft Certified Partners receive technical and marketing support from Microsoft, and are allowed to display the Microsoft Partner logo on their products and promotional materials.

Force feedback technology makes game console and PC peripheral devices--like joysticks and rumble pads--vibrate or shake in response to in-game events, such as a virtual aircraft touching down on a runway.