Lik-Sang sued out of existence by Sony

Posted by Mark Raby

Hong-Kong (China) - Lik-Sang, one of the most popular online retailers for purchasing imported video games, announced today that it is going out of business for good, with costly lawsuits brought forth by Sony as the major factor. The dot-com retailer, which is based in Hong Kong, will no longer take new orders, and will not even fulfill orders already placed. Refunds will be issued for all outstanding orders.

At the heart of this unexpected closure are lawsuits filed from Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, as well as Sony Computer Entertainment's global corporate division, who claimed Lik-Sang "infringed its trade marks, copyright and registered design rights" because of the unlawful sale of Asian PSPs to European customers. The High Court of London found in favor of Sony.

Previously, Sony had told GamesIndustry.biz that the lawsuit was not aimed at bringing down Lik-Sang. "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," they said.

In its press release, Lik-Sang fired back by saying, "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."

Lik-Sang, clearly bitter about the ordeal, went on to name European Sony executives who received imported PSP consoles from Lik-Sang, claiming the lawsuit an act of hypocrisy. In a bit of an overdramatic state, Lik-Sang's manager Pascal Clarysse claimed, "It s the beginning of the end... of the World as we know it." While most of the video game industry was aware of Lik-Sang, hardware and software manufacturers previously had largely turned a blind eye to it.

Lik-Sang, which purchased Japanese versions of video game software and hardware, where most of the content is first made available, would resell the merchandise online to consumers around the world. This gave it a large European following, since this geography is usually the last one to receive games and hardware - which must be encoded to PAL format. Japan and US media products formatted to NTSC standards.

Lik-Sang essentially calls the incident another David vs. Goliath case, where "the Empire finally won," and goes on to say that a "few dominating retailers from the UK probably will rejoice the news, but everybody else in the gaming world lost something today."