Sony may be banned from selling their PlayStation 2 console and fined $90.7 million (49m), after a federal court in California decided that they have infringed a patent held by Immersion.

The ruling comes after a previous order was made last year where Sony were told to pay $82m in damages, with Immersion claiming that the DualShock controllers reacting to game actions was a direct infringement on their "haptic" technology patent - a claim which Sony have understandably vigorously denied.

According to Immersion the Haptic patent is based on the Greek word "haptesthai" which means "touch", and the technology allows "people to feel touch sensations while interacting with a digital display, like a computer screen and a hardware device such as a joystick or mouse".

Until the appeal is complete Sony are believed to be continuing sales of their PlayStation, PS2 and some 47 games titles in America - although having already lost two court rulings it seems highly unlikely that another attempt by the Japanese giant will see the situation changed, meaning sales of the machines may well face a very sudden end.

If the court finding is made to stand then it could have widespread effects for the entire games industry, which may well see future games and hardware having to drop the force-feedback and vibration effects which have become a common feature in almost every game available.

Several large companies already have licences to use the technology in their devices, and a previous settlement saw Microsoft pay $26m to Immersion back in 2003 after they were faced with the same allegation which Sony instead decided to fight.