Playlist Patented... Everyone Sued... But Did Apple Pay Up?

from the sounds-like-it dept

A bunch of folks have been submitting the latest story on a patent hoarding firm, Premier International Associates, who appears to have absolutely no other business than getting its hands on questionable, overly broad, obvious patents and then suing everyone possible. In this case, the patent is for the basic concept of a playlist, which can be found just about anywhere. So, it should come as little to no surprise that the list of companies sued is quite long, including: Microsoft, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba, Viacom, Real, Napster, Samsung, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Sandisk, HP, Acer, Gateway and Yahoo (phew!). That's quite a list, though it's not surprising to see that there are a ton of companies offering software that has a concept so basic and so obvious as a playlist.

However, there is one very interesting point here. Apple is missing from the list. As the folks over at Ars Technica figured out, Premier actually had sued Apple about this same patent back in 2005, but at the same time it was filing all these new patent lawsuits it filed to dismiss the Apple suit, suggesting that Apple most likely paid off the company (perhaps giving it the money needed to suddenly sue every other company in the universe. Apple certainly has a history of doing this. When the company was sued on a rather similar obvious patent on a hierarchical menu-based user interfaces held by Creative, it eventually (after spending some time fighting it) decided to simply pay $100 million to be left alone. Of course, all that did was allow Creative to head out and sue plenty of others. Sound familiar? By settling on these questionable patent claims, all Apple is doing is encouraging more lawsuits of this nature for itself, as well as others.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    RandomThoughts, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 1:35pm

    I would think a hundred mil would buy a lot of lawyers. Wonder why they settled? A hundred mil here, a hundred mil there, soon you are talking real money.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    TheDock22, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 2:06pm

    I had a playlist....

    I used to keep a physical list of my movies on a piece of paper and would re-order my list using post-it notes of what I wanted to watch. The next logical step would be to digitalize it. Can I sue those companies too?

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Craig, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 2:09pm

    Sounds like kidnapping

    This sounds a lot like the rationale for not paying terrorists' ransoms for kidnapping victims, as the money only fuels the terrorists' other activities. Of course, to the family whose loved one is in jeopardy, that matters very little.

    Here, we have a company whose product is basically threatened until the firm pays the ransom in the form of a licensing fee. Then the holding company uses those funds to terrorize other "infringers."

    So...when do the airstrikes start on Premier International Associates' headquarters?

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    jon, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 2:13pm

    I'd like to see that patent! Playlists have been around since the early days of radio

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    hugh, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 2:14pm

    its like dealing with terrorists

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    ZeTron, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 2:38pm

    Re: Sounds like kidnapping

    Good analogy Craig; I agree fully.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 2:38pm

    does that mean we can have the US military invade Premier International Associates' headquarters and torture their employees?

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 2:42pm

    Re:

    way to steal someone else's analogy, butcher it and contribute absolutely nothing to the discussion. You make yourself sound oh so intelligent.

    Digression aside, its time to bring in the conspiracy theory that this 'firm' is actually an Apple front!

    Possible, but would be damn stupid on their part.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Tim, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 2:49pm

    honey-do list

    Don't get any ideas I've already submitted my patent application! Or maybe my wife has?

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    R3d Jack, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 3:06pm

    Re: I had a playlist....

    No, but they are going to sue you!

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    R3d Jack, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 3:09pm

    Re: Re:

    Stupidity is the foundation of any good conspiracy theory. Yours may actually reach Urban Legend status.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 3:29pm

    But Apple is a religion. Don't say anything against them or you will go to "uncool" hell.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Kevin, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 3:34pm

    re:

    I made a Grocery List the other day. I suppose I need to obtain counsel for the enevitable.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Joe, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 3:34pm

    Let's face it, these law suites are nothing more than people trying to make millions the only way the know how, and that is suing other companies with millions for what ever reason they can come up with.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Joseph, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 3:52pm

    Playlist.............

    After more than 30 years on the road banging on a keyboard or a piano I guess our playlists are next, and just when I retired. I worked as a very gifted paralegal for 12 years and this just reminds me why I dont miss the profession.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 4:03pm

    I'm waiting for someone to get sued over digital post it notes

     

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  17.  
    icon
    Vincent Clement (profile), Sep 17th, 2007 @ 4:07pm

    Re:

    Many of these patent hoarders are lawyers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 4:19pm

    Re: Playlist.............

    "I worked as a very gifted paralegal" If you don't say so yourself....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    ConceptJunkie (profile), Sep 17th, 2007 @ 5:36pm

    Re:

    No, it _is_ dealing with terrorists.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward #2, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 5:40pm

    Re:

    I agree!!! I think that the US military should invade Premier International Associates' headquarters and torture their employees.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Davin Peterson, Sep 18th, 2007 @ 9:06am

    Creative is also missing from the list

    Not only Apple, but Creative is noticeably missing from the list. Creative invented the iPod interface and gets no recogition. Several of their Zen players support playlists.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Whoa., Sep 18th, 2007 @ 3:57pm

    Smart

    Smart Apple. In an evil way. What do you expect..sigh.

    Speaking of Apple, my iPod broke two weeks after my one year warranty ran out. I know several people who've had the same complaint. And unlike most electronic products, the iPod apparently can't be fixed. You can only turn in your useless dead one for a a little discount on a brand new one. It's a conspiracy. If I'd know the thing would only last a year, I wouldn't have spent over $100 on it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    marry, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 4:15am

    Re: Smart

    After more than 30 years on the road banging on a keyboard or a piano I guess our playlists are next, and just when I retired. I worked as a laptop AC adapter very gifted paralegal for 12 years and this just reminds me why I dont miss the profession.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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