Immersion to pay Microsoft $20 million to settle patent suit

A company that makes touch sensors for interacting with computer applications and games has agreed to pay Microsoft more than $20 million to settle a patent suit.

Microsoft sued Immersion, based in San Jose, Calif., in June 2007 in Western District Court of Washington to collect part of the patent-settlement fees Sony agreed to pay Immersion in another case.

Microsoft claimed that it deserved some of Sony’s patent settlement to Immersion because of a previous deal in which Microsoft became a sublicensor of certain patents Immersion held. The patents in question were part of the Sony settlement.

In an e-mail, Steve Aeschbacher, associate general counsel at Microsoft, confirmed a $20.75 million payout from Immersion and said Microsoft was pleased to have reached a resolution to the dispute.

Immersion CEO and President Clent Richardson, a one-time Apple executive, echoed that sentiment in a press statement made Tuesday, saying he was pleased to “put this litigation behind us.”

In an e-mail Wednesday, a representative from Immersion’s public relations firm said Immersion also becomes a member of Microsoft’s Certified Partner Program as part of the settlement.

Immersion is a premier developer of force-feedback technology, which—among other things—lets gamers feel rumbles and shakes from a game controller. The company brought force-feedback technology to Mac OS X in 2002.

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