Last year, we were surprised to see Netflix announce that it owned a patent on its business model and was suing Blockbuster. This was surprising for a company like Netflix that had shown its ability to compete with the big players in the marketplace -- in effect showing how you could succeed against much bigger players without resorting to government-backed monopoly protections. However, Netflix decided that, even as it was killing Blockbuster in the market, it was going to sue for copying its business model. After a year of fighting, however, the two companies have settled the lawsuit, with neither side admitting to what that settlement means. If you read between the lines, however, it certainly sounds like Blockbuster paid up to get the suit out of the way. If true, that would be unfortunate. It's also unclear how (or if) this will impact that separate class action lawsuit against Netflix that claims these patents were used to violate antitrust law by not declaring known prior art.
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