Adult Patent Law Case Settled Out of Court

Bob Preston
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A patent law court case that ensnared a prominent adult industry figure has come to a quiet close.

The case had involved three parties: entertainment giant Sony, interactive tech firm Immersion Corporation, and a smaller tech company called Immersion.

Immersion and Internet Services settled with each other. The three companies had become embroiled when Immersion sued Sony for patent infringement. Immersion's specialty is interactive technology that lets users feel what's happening onscreen. Insiders call it "haptic" technology.

Internet Services jumped into the mix by claiming that Immersion had given them authority to enforce their patents. Internet Services based this claim on a licensing deal they had with Immersion to add haptic technology to adult websites.

A trial had been set to begin on Sept. 15, but the two companies have settled out of court. In addition, the companies have amended their existing business relationship under confidential terms.

Internet Services also had previously sued to get a part of any money Immersion might win in its case with Sony, but Immersion defeated that claim.

Because of the adult connection, Immersion's lawyer wanted to depose adult industry attorney and free-speech advocate Greg Piccionelli of the law firm of Piccionelli & Sarno.

Internet Services retained the high-profile San Francisco law firm Keker & Van Nest for the case. That was back in 2004. Since the beginning of this year, Keker had been trying to get out of the case, citing a conflict with Piccionelli.

Online reports show that Immersion's lawyers wanted to depose him. That deposition never happened, apparently because Piccionelli never agreed to be represented by Keker & Van Nest, and Immersion's lawyers never properly served him with a subpoena.

Keker managed to get free of the case in June.