PSP importer in High Court battle
The owner of etailer ElectricBirdLand seems to have lost the latest round of a legal battle with Sony in the UK's High Court today, with the judge presiding imposing an injunction preventing EBL MD Dan Morelle from selling any more of the imported handhelds for the time being. Another hearing is however scheduled and the tussle will continue then.
The PSP is not officially due out in the UK (and other PAL regions) until September 1st. In court, Sony's lawyer suggested that import sales in Europe had a "very significantly impact the excitement and anticipation of the market and the way we can exploit that in the run-up to the September launch." Sony won the injunction on the grounds that EBL's illegal selling infringed trademarks, something of a technicality, given that Sony were purely after a halt to the sales which were beyond their control.
Morelle stated that Sony knew he was selling the imported PSPs online from as early as March 21st, but did not contact him until May 9th. He stated that Sony were trying to make an example of him, and that many other retailers continued to sell PSPs both on and off-line. Morelle also noted that £11,000 worth of PSPs were sold to Sony companies, a fact lawyers dismissed as irrelevant. An interim injunction was enforced by the court, and EBL will now have to respond if they wish to once again sell the handheld online. Another hearing will continue this saga on July 18th, and Sony will provide damages for the loss of interim sales if EBL wins the next hearing.
The judge noted that Sony had a strong case, but also stated it was 'a shame' Sony had not accepted earlier 'reasonable' offers from Morelle and EBL. Morelle was also angered by Sony using 'intimidating' men in dark glasses to deliver papers to his wife prior to the case, Sony stated that the men were simply ensuring papers were correctly delivered, but the judge ordered that a normal courier be used in the future.
More as this interesting tussle develops.