Lik-Sang, known by most gamers as the site to surf when looking for games or consoles not available in their region, has today issued a statement saying the company has shut its virtual doors due to multiple legal actions brought against it by Sony.
On Friday the High Court of London ruled in favor of Sony, stating sales of the Sony PSP from the Hong Kong based Lik-Sang to European customers is unlawful. Sony argued that that Lik-Sang advertises Sony products "in a dishonest manner" and "unlawfully interferes with Sony's economical interests". They further argued that Lik-Sang was acting illegally by selling Sony items that are in Asia to people in the UK and Europe. Finally, Sony claimed copyright infringement for Lik-Sang's practice of uploading Sony console user manuals to its server for customers to download.
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The hearing took place without Lik-Sang's legal representatives present and the judge came down in Sony's favor. This gave Sony the power to threaten Lik-Sang with more lawsuits, and issued a statement yesterday saying they would prosecute any and all retailers who were "grey importing" its products from outside regions to the European Union without Sony's permission. This includes the PS3, a promised money maker for Lik-Sang, as the delayed European release of the console ensured hundreds, if not thousands, of import sales.
The threat of another lawsuit has proven to be too big of a blow for the Hong Kong importer, and they have issued a statement today saying they are out of business. The company is no longer accepting orders and will be cancelling or refunding pending orders. The company has promised work with banks and PayPal to refund all store credits, along with pending repairs and returns.
Despite Sony's legal win, many gamers are left with a bitter taste in their mouths, as Lik-Sang provided, what was believed to be, a legitimate way to enjoy games from all over the world. While I understand Sony's desire to move on this before the launch of the PS3, I can't help but think it was a bad move for a company who, most gamers believe, has given gamers the middle finger a few too many times over recent months.
Important Notice: Lik-Sang.com Out of Business due to Multiple Sony Lawsuits
Tue Oct 24 2006 21:58:51 Hong Kong Time - Corporate Info
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - OUT OF BUSINESS NOTICE
Hong Kong, October 24th of 2006 - Lik-Sang.com, the popular gaming retailer from Hong Kong, has today announced that it is forced to close down due to multiple legal actions brought against it by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Limited and Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Sony claimed that Lik-Sang infringed its trade marks, copyright and registered design rights by selling Sony PSP consoles from Asia to European customers, and have recently obtained a judgment in the High Court of London (England) rendering Lik-Sang's sales of PSP consoles unlawful.
As of today, Lik-Sang.com will not be in the position to accept any new orders and will cancel and refund all existing orders that have already been placed. Furthermore, Lik-Sang is working closely with banks and PayPal to refund any store credits held by the company, and the customer support department is taking care of any open transactions such as pending RMAs or repairs and shipping related matters. The staff of Lik-Sang will make sure that nobody will get hurt in the crossfire of this ordeal.
A Sony spokesperson declined to comment directly on the lawsuit against Lik-Sang, but recently went on to tell Gamesindustry.biz that "ultimately, we're trying to protect consumers from being sold hardware that does not conform to strict EU or UK consumer safety standards, due to voltage supply differences et cetera; is not - in PS3's case - backwards compatible with either PS1 or PS2 software; will not play European Blu-Ray movies or DVDs; and will not be covered by warranty".
Lik Sang strongly disagrees with Sony's opinion that their customers need this kind of protection and pointed out that PSP consoles shipped from Lik-Sang contained genuine Sony 100V-240V AC Adapters that carry CE and other safety marks and are compatible world wide. All PSP consoles were in conformity with all EU and UK consumer safety regulations.
Furthermore, Sony have failed to disclose to the London High Court that not only the world wide gaming community in more than 100 countries relied on Lik-Sang for their gaming needs, but also Sony Europe's very own top directors repeatedly got their Sony PSP hard or software imports in nicely packed Lik-Sang parcels with free Lik-Sang Mugs or Lik-Sang Badge Holders, starting just two days after Japan's official release, as early as 14th of December 2004 (more than nine months earlier than the legal action). The list of PSP related Sony Europe orders reads like the who's who of the videogames industry, and includes Ray Maguire (Managing Director, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd), Alan Duncan (UK Marketing Director, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd), Chris Sorrell (Creative Director, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd), Rob Parkin (Development Director, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Limited), just to name a few.
"Today is Sony Europe victory about PSP, tomorrow is Sony Europeís ongoing pressure about PlayStation 3. With this precedent set, next week could already be the stage for complaints from Sony America about the same thing, or from other console manufacturers about other consoles to other regions, or even from any publisher about any specific software title to any country they donít see fit. Itís the beginning of the end... of the World as we know it", stated Pascal Clarysse, formerly known as the Marketing Manager of Lik-Sang.com.
"Blame it on Sony. That's the latest dark spot in their shameful track record as gaming industry leader. The Empire finally 'won', few dominating retailers from the UK probably will rejoice the news, but everybody else in the gaming world lost something today."