Lauren Tascan/Roxanne Pascente
S&S Public Relations, Inc.
212-772-3900 / 847-955-0700
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BLEEM FIGHTS BACK: SONY FACES ANTITRUST
SAN FRANCISCO, CA (December 14, 1999)--The ongoing court battle waged
by Sony Computer Entertainment of America, Inc. against the makers of
"bleem!", a software program which allows games designed for
the Sony PlayStation to be played on personal computers, entered a new
phase last Friday, following a series of rulings in favor of the tiny
startup company. In the day's most notable decision, the Honorable Judge
Charles A. Legge of the United States District Court for the Northern
District of California granted Bleem's motion for leave to amend
and assert counterclaims against the electronics giant.
COUNTERCLAIMS IN PLAYSTATION LAWSUIT
Los Angeles-based Bleem claims Sony has unlawfully acquired, maintained,
and extended its monopoly in the video game market through a combination
of anti-competitive practices, including misuse of copyright, patents and
other intellectual property. Bleem further asserts that the current
lawsuit exemplifies these practices and is a "sham," brought in
Further claims against Sony include combination or conspiracy in
restraint of trade, intentional interference with contractual relations,
defamation, and unfair competition with regard to Sony's well-publicized
efforts to force show management to remove Bleem's booth from the E3
trade event last May.
In other matters before the Court, Sony's internal Legal and Business
Affairs officers attempted to modify an existing protective order and
gain access to Bleem's most confidential business data. The information
in question includes detailed reseller information, source code for the
bleem! software, identities of bleem! customers, and information relating
to negotiations with third-party software and hardware companies.
Commenting from the bench that such protective orders serve to
"protect David from Goliath," Judge Legge denied Sony's request
to re-classify Bleem's confidential business information with respect to
all but one narrow category of financial information. All other protected
information will remain accessible only to outside legal counsel.
This decision came at the end of a week in which Sony stepped up its
efforts against Bleem. On December 7, just four days after a discovery
conference with Bleem's counsel and three days prior to Friday's hearing,
Sony served subpoenas on 10 of Bleem's biggest customers, demanding
detailed information regarding purchasing, sales, promotion and profits
resulting from the bleem! product. Sony issued these subpoenas without
adequate prior notice to Bleem, resulting in angry phone calls from
"What we have here is a pretty transparent attempt by Sony to
intimidate the retailers into pulling bleem! from their shelves,"
said Jon Hangartner, lead attorney for Bleem. "Even if Sony's
subpoenas weren't invalid on their face, the information they request is
irrelevant to the lawsuit. These subpoenas have nothing to do with
potential damages; they only serve to scare bleem!'s vendors into
thinking they might be Sony's next target."
At the end of Friday's session, Judge Legge agreed to hear an expedited
motion to quash the subpoenas. He also authorized Bleem to tell its
retailers they need not do anything until he renders his decision. Bleem
is expected to submit the necessary motion to the court early this week
in order to protect the confidential information of their
"I've been instructed to take every possible action in defense of
Bleem's retail partners," said Hangartner. " Most of these
stores keep their sales figures and arrangements in the strictest
confidence, and Sony simply has no business demanding this kind of
proprietary data from innocent third-parties, particularly when it has no
bearing on the case whatsoever."
Since first filing suit against Bleem on April 2, 1999, Sony has brought
three motions before the court in attempts to halt sales of the bleem!
software, including two Temporary Restraining Orders and a Preliminary
Injunction. All have failed. The original lawsuit, filed before bleem!
was even released to the public, alleges a host of claims including
copyright infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets in the
development and sale of bleem! Bleem, LLC has consistently denied Sony's
allegations in every respect.
With a suggested retail price of $29.95, bleem! is a software program
that lets gamers everywhere play hundreds of PlayStation games on Windows
95/98-based PCs, with higher resolutions than the original PlayStation
and effects that rival next-generation game consoles. Initially released
on the Internet, bleem! soon developed a strong following, selling over
20,000 copies in just a few months. A retail launch followed and in less
than five months, another 150,000 copies have been sold worldwide. The
receives over 70,000 visitors a day and offers free updates,
compatibility info, and an active message-board community.
For more information, visit
or contact Lauren Tascan at 212-772-3900, or David Herpolsheimer, Bleem,
LLC at 323-822-0932.
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Lauren B. Tascan
177 E. 75th St., #15D
New York, NY 10021