Immersion Corporation has won a lawsuit claiming that Sony 'stole' their controller-vibration technology. The award prevents Sony from selling the Playstation 2 console in the US.
Most of us remember when the first vibrating controller came out, with the Nintendo 64. It was a great novelty and we all wondered just how useful it would be for long term gaming. But in modern times, pretty much every console has a vibrating handheld controller, to help give you feedback on gameplay. Your spaceship gets shot, your controller buzzes.
Immersion Technologies has been working on this type of technology since 1993, and owns many patents on the various ways in which items can buzz and shake. As the 'next generation' set of consoles came out - the XBox, PS2 and GameCube - Immersion realized that both Microsoft and Sony had violated their patents. So they went about setting up lawsuits.
Fast forward to 2005, when a Californian district court has agreed with Immersion, and ordered Sony to pay Immersion $90 million in damages for the theft, and to immediately stop selling the PS2 consoles. I personally am sort of confused why Sony would have to stop selling the console. The console just sends an electrical signal out when 'something happens' (say your ship gets hit or your sword strikes something). It is the handheld controller that actually has the buzzing technology. A lawsuit verdict should make them stop selling buzzing controllers, not stop selling the console unit.
Be that as it may, Sony is of course appealing and can keep selling the unit while they are in the middle of the appeal process. We shall see what the next level of court decides on this case!