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Immersion shakes out $20m for MS legal win

Will share its toys with Microsoft?

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Microsoft will soon have an extra $20m in the bank and new business partner now that it's settled a long running legal spat with vibration-feedback firm Immersion.

Under the terms of the deal, Immersion will pay Microsoft $20.7m (£11.5m/€14.2m) and enter into Microsoft's Certified Partner Program. It’s rumoured this could see Immersion’s haptics technology integrated into various Microsoft products, most notably the Xbox 360.

The case began back in 2002, when Immersion sued both Microsoft and Sony for patent infringement relating to its “rumble” technology. Immersion settled with Sony, which paid it roughly $22m in settlement fees and a further $100m in associated royalties and patent fees.

However, as part of an earlier legal settlement with Microsoft, which is believed to have seen the software giant pay Immersion around $26m (£14.85m/€117.8m), the vibration specialist promised to give a slice of its Sony winnings to Microsoft.

This money was never paid by Immersion, so Microsoft sued Immersion, resulting in the latest, and hopefully final, $20.75m payment.

Clent Richardson, Immersion’s President and CEO, said: “We are pleased to resolve our outstanding dispute with Microsoft and to put this litigation behind us.”

Immersion’s boss, who’s a previous Apple executive, added that he’s still keen to work with other “innovative companies around the world” to achieve global adoption of its haptic technology into, say, gaming, consumer electronics areas. For example, it was rumoured earlier this year that Immersion’s talking to Apple about building its haptics technology into the iPhone.

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