You may recall the fairly high profile patent lawsuit between Microsoft and Burst.com that took place a few years ago. It was an interesting case, where Microsoft was accused of infringing on some Burst.com patents for video streaming. What made it more interesting than your usual software patent infringement suit was two things: (1) Microsoft had spent two years "working" with Burst where Burst explained a lot of its technology and (2) Microsoft conveniently "lost" a whole bunch of emails that were probably extremely relevant to the case -- neither of which made Microsoft look particularly innocent. Eventually, Microsoft agreed to settle the case and hand over $60 million. Burst, discovering the wonders of patents, then announced that it would use that money to go after other infringers. Since that time, the company had been relatively quiet, but a month ago Robert Cringely (who wrote a few columns strongly taking Burst's side in the Microsoft case) mentioned rumors of a new Apple video offering which he notes would almost definitely infringe on Burst's patents. Based on that, he wrote: "look for an Apple/Burst announcement." Well, now that announcement has come, though it's probably not what Cringely expected. He indicated one of two possible outcomes: (1) a license agreement between Burst and Apple or (2) Burst suing Apple for infringement. Turns out the answer is behind door number three: Apple proactively suing Burst.com, and asking the judge either say that Apple is not infringing on Burst's patents or to simply say that Burst's patents are invalid. Should be fun to watch this one unfold.
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