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Erise wins summary judgment for Sony, ending $500 million infringement case

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Erise won summary judgment for Sony this week, cementing its successful defense of the global video game leader in a $500 million infringement suit that threatened its PlayStation console.

Genuine Enabling Technology sued Sony in the District of Delaware in 2017, accusing its PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 consoles and controllers of infringing a patent on how a game controller would package, send, and process information to the console. Genuine Enabling claimed to have invented the fundamental operation of Sony’s Bluetooth PlayStation controllers, a claim Sony vigorously disputed.  

Before summary judgment, Erise filed a key Daubert motion challenging GET’s technical expert’s opinion, which the Court granted, leaving GET with no evidence or expert opinions on the operation of Sony’s Bluetooth controllers. Undeterred, GET persisted with its case and Erise was forced to file summary judgment challenging the lack of evidence in GET’s case. Erise’s motion for summary judgment was granted shortly after oral argument, ending the case.

GET asserted that a Bluetooth module in PlayStation controllers acted as a “framer” in the same way as the patent: synchronizing button data with data from motion sensors or microphones and combining them into a single data stream that may be transmitted to the console. To support its theory, GET produced a report from its engineering expert. The key to Erise’s summary judgment win was a two-part strategy designed and implemented by Erise counsel Cliff Brazen. This strategy centered around excluding the expert’s opinion based on his failure to analyze whether the Bluetooth module performed synchronization in substantially the same way as the patent, which is required under the “function-way-result test” for structural equivalency. The attack on the technical expert’s opinion was led by Erise’s Senior Patent Agent, Callie Pendergrass, who put together a devastating cross-examination for his deposition. Once the Daubert motion was granted, the second part of this strategy was a summary judgment motion directed at GET’s lack of evidence on the same claim limitation that was subject to the Daubert motion.

In addition to Cliff, Erise shareholders Adam Seitz and Michelle Marriott represented Sony in the case, which was covered by Law360.

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