Sony’s Patent Application Criticizes Rival Console Manufacturers By Calling Them “Inferior”

Sony’s use of the word “inferior” in its patent applications to describe other console makers has been criticized as “childish” and “unprofessional” by a patent expert. Florian Mueller, a more than 20-year veteran of the field of patent activism and analysis, recently criticized Sony in a post on his website, Foss Patents.

Mueller quotes a GameRant report that claims Sony just issued a patent application for a universal controller that labels non-PlayStation devices as “inferior,” and he claims that this is not only “dumb” of Sony but also not the first time it has done so.

Wording used in Sony’s patent | GameRant

The controller may be used with “a personal computer, a home entertainment system (e.g., Sony PlayStation 2 or Sony PlayStation 3 or Sony PlayStation 4), a portable gaming system (e.g., Sony PSP or Sony Vita), or a home entertainment system of a different, although inferior manufacturer,” according to Sony’s patent.

Hat tip to GameRant, but this is not new. It’s long-standing Sony practice. They’ve been doing this since at least 2011.

It’s amazing that no one has discovered this ‘tradition’ before, and that no patent office told them a long time ago to stop doing that once and for all. Patent applications are not meant to be propaganda instruments for console warriors.

It’s important to remember that although though this patent was published on April 6, 2023, it was really submitted in June 2022. This indicates that the patent was submitted roughly six months after Microsoft declared its intention to buy Activision Blizzard.

PlayStation Universal System Patent | GameRant

This doesn’t necessary imply that the casual comment was related, but since then, gamers everywhere have seen a very visible breakdown in communication between Microsoft and Sony. It may not have made sense for Sony to disparage Nintendo at the time, but it is hard to infer motivation from this remark. After all, it’s not wording that one often finds in a patent.

Mueller says that it’s typical and legal for certain patents to make the case for why the innovation is better to what is currently on the market in order to support its need for patent protection.

In that context, there is nothing wrong with discussing specific technical drawbacks (such as inferior performance, higher power consumption, greater memory footprint) of particular prior art (earlier inventions).

But calling competitors generally ‘inferior’ is gratuitous, stupid, childish, and unprofessional.

It will be interesting to see if or not the PlayStation Universal Controller is implemented. Fans should keep in mind that just because a patent is filed or even published, it doesn’t always guarantee the product will be ready soon, if at all. But, Sony’s frustration with recent industry changes is evident from the wording used in the patent.


Muhammad Zuhair

Passionate about technology and gaming content, Zuhair focuses on analyzing information and then presenting it to the audience.