Bleem to countersue Sony

Alleges unfair competition, bad faith, tons of other evil stuff

PlayStation-on-a-PC software developer Bleem has been granted leave to countersue Sony Computer Entertainment, the division within the Japanese giant that sells the PlayStation. Bleem alleges Sony unlawfully acquired, maintained and extended its monopoly in the video game market through a combination of anti-competitive practices, including misuse of copyright, patents and other intellectual property. The company further believes Sony's actions against it, in particular an alleged attempt to get Bleem booted out of last May's E3 show, amount to conspiracy in restraint of trade, intentional interference with contractual relations, defamation, and unfair competition. It also claims Sony's own lawsuit was issued in bad faith -- that it was issued to damage Bleem rather than seek justice, in other words. That's a heck of a lot of claims, but given Sony's tactics of late, you can't really blame Bleem for going so far. Most recently, it subpoenaed ten of Bleem's largest retail customers, apparently without informing Bleem sufficiently far in advance. And it has been trying to get information from Bleem regarding all of its customers. Sony also tried last week to get Bleem's business data reclassified to allow it access to said. However, US District Court Judge Charles Legge denied the corporation's internal Legal and Business Affairs officers the right to do so. Legge also agreed to hear a motion from Bleem calling for the ten subpoenas to be quashed on the grounds Sony has no right to third parties' confidential information. Sony's beef with Bleem centres on its allegations that the company's eponymous software infringes its intellectual property and copyrights, and that it misappropriated trade secrets. Bleem denies the claims, arguing that its software contains no Sony code or IP, and that it was developed using established, legal reverse engineering principles. And the court has largely concurred with Bleem's arguments. Certainly Legge has refused to grant Sony two separate injunctions banning the sale of Bleem's software. Sony's suit is due to come to court next year. ®

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