The Cell Broadband Engine as it resides in the PS3  (Source: DailyTech)
Calif-based company claims that the PS3 CPU infringes on its 15 year-old patent

Sony is yet again a target for a patent infringement lawsuit, this time regarding the centerpiece of its latest games console.

Newport Beach, Calif.-based Parallel Processing Corporation claims that the Cell Broadband Engine, the innovative processor that powers every PlayStation 3 and several IBM servers, infringes upon a patent that was filed more than 15 years ago.

Patent number 5,056,000, titled “Synchronized parallel processing with shared memory,” describes “a high speed computer that permits the partitioning of a single computer program into smaller concurrent processes running in different parallel processors. The program execution time is divided into synchronous phases, each of which may require a shared memory to be configured in a distinct way. At the end of each execution phase, the processors are resynchronized such that the composite system will be in a known state at a known point in time. The computer makes efficient use of hardware such that n processors can solve a problem almost n times as fast as a single processor.”

Parallel Processing Corporation filed the suit in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas against Sony, stating that the use of the Cell Broadband Engine in the PlayStation 3 “are causing irreparable harm and monetary damage” to the company. The lawsuit is seeking damages, attorney fees and an injunction against the Japanese electronics company.

It is unclear why Parallel Processing Corporation chose to only file suit against Sony when the Cell Broadband Engine was a joint development project with Sony, Toshiba and IBM.

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

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