Sony wins PSP grey import battle

A Hong Kong based company has lost its battle to sell Sony PSP consoles destined for the Japanese market to Europe. A UK High Court judge has agreed with Sony that selling grey imports of PSPs and other Playstation gear constituted ‘copyright infringement’.

Pacific Technology had argued that it was a Hong Kong company having no trading presence in the UK or the EEA and that title to the goods they sold passed in Hong Kong and therefore had no control over who bought the PSP consoles.

However, according to the Judge, it was clear that while the site was located outside the EEA, it was clearly targeted at customers within Europe. He noted that the site was written in English and the default currency when accessed from the UK was sterling. In addition the manuals available on the website were in various European languages including English.

Europe has already decided that the manufacturer holds rights over where their product could be sold. If the site had been located within the EU, there would have been no question of infringement

In conclusion Judge Fysh ruled ‘It would make no sense if intellectual property rights in the EEA could be avoided merely by setting up a website outside the EEA crafted to sell within it.’

The case will be used as ammunition by Sony should anyone try to sell Playstation 3 machines into Europe following their launch in Japan later this year. The PS3 launch in Europe has been delayed until March of next year.

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