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Category — Struggling Firms

Sony Wins U.K. Lik-Sang Grey Market Case – Lik-Sang Shuts Down

Categories: Distribution Agmt CasesGrey Market CasesImport/Export CasesStruggling FirmsTrademark Cases

Sony has won a High Court Judgment in the U.K. banning Hong-Kong based Lik-Sang.com from selling PSP consoles into the European Economic Area. While Hong-Kong-based Lik-Sang did participate in pre-trial activities, it did not show up in court to contest the case. Thus, a default judgment was awarded to Sony.

This action was launched in August of 2005 when Lik-Sang sold PSPs into Europe after Sony delayed North American and European shipments for many months after the Japanese PSP launch. The same sort of delay is about to occur with the PS3. Sony is launching the PS3 in the Japanese and North American markets months before Europe.

[October 24 Update:]After years of fighting Sony, Lik-Sang has closed its e-doors. In an interesting side-story, Sony’s European management purchased Sony products from Lik-Sang when unavailable in Europe (See BBC Story). Pascal Clarysse, former marketing manager for Lik-Sang, had this to say on closing:

“Blame it on Sony. That’s the latest dark spot in their shameful track record as gaming industry leader. The ‘empire’ finally won. A few dominating retailers from the U.K. probably will rejoice (in) the news, but everybody else in the gaming world lost something today.”

Sony dismissed this as sour grapes. A similar Hong-Kong-based case between the parties continues.

Dale’s Comment: I understand Sony’s need to protect the interests of its European distributors and its trademarks. I also understand its wanting to protect its own economic interests by means of region-by-region product launches. But its claim that the lawsuit was brought to protect consumers’ safety is, of course, nonsense.

In a world of global markets with the ability to deliver products throughout the Globe overnight, one wonders if this market-by-market distribution model is appropriate any more. It certainly is far from consumer friendly or fair. Lik-Sang met a real consumer need. Through Lik-Sang, Sony’s most loyal fans had a means to purchase Sony products long before Sony had the wherewithal to launch/distribute products in their particular country. Sometimes it takes years before Sony launches a product into a given market (if ever). With this ruling, there is no legal way for etailers to sell into markets not served, or underserved by Sony and its resellers.

As a Canadian living right next to the U.S., I have oft experienced the frustration of not being able to purchase products and services only made available in the U.S. I relish the fact that etailers such as Lik-sang are willing to serve the needs of consumers in under-served regions of the world.

Lawsuit Stories: Gamasutra | Engadget | GameIndustry.biz | GameSpot | *GameDaily.biz | PC Pro | IGN | ars technica | TVG | BetaNews | Pocket-lint | GameIndustry.biz| Daily Tech

Lik-Sang Closing Stories: Lik-Sang.com Notice | Gamastura | ars technica | Outlaw.com | ZDNet | Engadget | BBC | GameSpot | GameDaily.biz | GameShout | CNet | afterdawn | PC Pro | IGN | NeoSeeker | Pocket-Lint | Gizmodo | Inquirer | Hexus | GameIndustry.biz | EuroGamer | Kotaku | Gadgetspy | PC World | Games Digest

Blogosphere: Bit-tech.net

Engadget Podcast 93 Coverage (Time Index 4:44-12:33).

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Acclaim’s Final Bankrupted Assets up for Auction

Categories: Struggling Firms

Acclaim went bankrupt in 2004. In June 2005 former Activision executive Howard Marks purchased the company’s name/trademarks and has set up a new company using the name. The remaining Acclaim assets, including the IP to 150+ video games, are set for auction on May 11, 2006.
 
Source: Gamasutra

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Visual Science to Launch Legal Action Against Viviendi

Categories: Publisher/Developer CasesStruggling Firms

Harry Potter and Medal of Honour game developer Visual Science, based in Dundee, seeks bankruptcy protection and plans legal action against Vivendi after Vivendi terminated a development contract “without grounds”.

Dale’s Comment: This will all, of course, hinge on the terms of the development agreement. Did Vivendi actually “need” to have a reason for terminating? Commercial agreements frequently have termination for convenience clauses which allow one party to terminate the agreement for any reason or no reason at all.
Sources: GameIndustry.biz  |  EuroGamer  |  MCV
 
See also: Earlier related GameIndustry.biz story.

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Gizmondo Europe to be Liquidated

Categories: Struggling Firms

The British High Court denies application for bankruptcy protection and orders Gizmondo to be wound up. Tiger Telematics is hoping to salvage some assets from subsidiary’s demise.

Source: Gamespot | Next Generation | GameIndustry.biz | Red Herring | 1Up.com | Gamasutra | Engadget | Joystiq

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Gizmondo Europe Files For Bankruptcy Re-Organization

Categories: Struggling Firms

Tiger Telematics subsidiary and handheld game hardware company Gizmondo Europe filed a High Court application for administration in the United Kingdom

Sources: Gamasutra | Gamespot | Next Generation | GameIndustry.biz | Red Herring | 1Up.com

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Gizmondo May Hand Over Smart Adds Inc. to Repay $21m debt

Categories: Struggling Firms

Tiger Telematics, the US parent company of struggling handheld console firm Gizmondo, has revealed that it has offered the stock, IP and patents of its Smart Adds subsidiary as equity on a $21.2 million loan from two shareholders. Smart Adds pushes video ads to mobile devices.
Sources: GamesIndustry.biz | Gamasutra | Joystiq | Engadget | Gamespot | GameDaily.biz

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Digital Jesters Wound-Up By British Court

Categories: Publisher/Developer CasesStruggling Firms

A joint press release from international developer KaosKontrol and French publisher Focus Home Interactive claims that a “winding-up order” has been obtained from the British High Court against troubled publisher Digital Jesters, meaning that this incarnation of the company is no longer allowed to continue trading.

Sources: Gamasutra | GameSpot | GameIndustry.biz

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Super X Parts Ways with Publisher Digital Jesters

Categories: Publisher/Developer CasesStruggling Firms

Seattle-based independent game developer Super X Studios has announced that it is terminating the company’s agreement for its Independent Games Festival-winning Xbox and PC safari adventure title Wild Earth with apparently still-troubled UK-headquartered publisher Digital Jesters and related companies.

Source: Gamasutra

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Kylotonn Severs Digital Jesters Ties

Categories: Distribution Agmt CasesPublisher/Developer CasesStruggling Firms

Representatives from French developer Kylotonn Entertainment have announced that the company has terminated its distributing and publishing agreement with UK-headquartered publisher Digital Jesters with immediate effect, complaining of a series of breaches of contract.

Source: Gamasutra

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Developers Threaten Digital Jesters with Legal Action

Categories: Publisher/Developer CasesRoyalty DisputesStruggling Firms

The UK Game publisher Digital Jesters has been accused by game developers of breaking contracts, failing to account for royalties, failing to pay game studios and otherwise breaching their contracts.

Source: GamesIndustry.biz

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Gizmondo Settles Jordan Lawsuit, Raises New Capital

Categories: Misc. Contract CasesSettlementsStruggling Firms

Gizmondo has settled its sponsorship agreement lawsuit with Jordan Grand Prix in an out of court mediation by the payment of $1,500,000 in cash and the issuance of 30,000 shares of the Company’s restricted common stock. Gizmondo had contracted with Jordan to feature Gizmondo advertisements on the side of Formula 1 race cars.

Source: Gamasutra

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Austrian Court Rules in Favour of JoWooD

Categories: Publisher/Developer CasesStruggling Firms

A Vienna court has rejected a petition by Australian developer Perception to have publisher JoWooD declared bankrupt after a series of disputes between the two companies.

Sources: Gameindustry.biz | GamaSutra | JoWooD Accused of Libel by Perception

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Ontario’s Hip Interactive to Cease Operations

Categories: Canadian DevelopersStruggling Firms

Handheld Games Sues Tiger Telemeatics, Makers of the Gizmondo Portable Gaming System

Categories: Misc. Contract CasesStruggling Firms

Handheld Games seeks $75,000 in damages saying that neither the promised Gizmondo development kits nor the final master license agreement ever arrived.

Source: Gamasutra | GameIndustry.biz | TVG | Ferrago

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Creative Puts Aureal Out of its Misery

Categories: Patent CasesSettlementsStruggling Firms

Aureal Defeats Creative Patent Infringement Case

Categories: DecisionsPatent CasesPolice ActionsStruggling Firms

Aureal has won its legal battle with arch-rival Creative technology when a US jury threw out Creative’s claim that Aureal Vortex sound processor chip violated Creative intellectual property.

Sources: Gamasutra | The Register

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