Blockbuster, Netflix Found Not To Have Infringed On Patent For Notifying You Of The Status Of Your Rental Queue

from the how-did-this-get-approved? dept

Slashdot points us to the news that a lawsuit against Netflix and Blockbuster for patent infringement has been dismissed by a California court. At issue was a patent, 7,389,243, that is for a method for alerting users to the status of their rental queue. Read through the claims and look at the drawings and try to figure out how such a patent was possibly approved. It's patents like this one that make people question what patent examiners actually do. So it's nice to see the patent holder sent packing, though you have to wonder if GameFly, who had previously settled a lawsuit over the same patent is now regretting that decision.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    R. Miles (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 3:43am

    Wonder? That's bread.

    ...you have to wonder if GameFly, who had previously settled a lawsuit over the same patent is now regretting that decision.
    Actually, no I don't because I know why GameFly settled. It was cheaper than the lawsuit.

    Did you completely miss the article you wrote about the station threatening a lawsuit on someone looking for videos?

    The THREAT of a lawsuit often wins out over the verdicts.

    "Over there is the Statue of Liberty, welcoming you to this country to follow your dreams.
    When that hard work, er, dreaming gets shattered, over there, there, there, there, there, there, there, there, there, there, there, there, and there, just to name a few, are the locations use to sue those you need in order to make those dreams come true." - American Corporation

     

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

  2.  
    icon
    bleach622 (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 4:56am

    notice the patent inventor and patent attorney have the same last name... looks like a family operation to me.

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    sheesh, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 4:57am

    Re: Wonder? That's bread.

    and that would definitely stop them from regretting their decision

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    icepick314, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 5:25am

    Media Queue was stupid to file the lawsuit in California....

    they should have filed it in Eastern District of Texas of Marshall, Texas....

     

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

  5.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 7:23am

    Nice one, Dennis

    Dennis Ruhl was the primary examiner on this one. A quick goog shows he was an assistant examiner on patents for a tampon string (United States Patent 5458589) and a cotton swab with expanded tips (United States Patent 5531671). So, we can probably expect more gems from him.

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Matt Bennett, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 8:27am

    So, it actually seems like the court's decision was wrong. Yes, it's a totally bogus patent. But as we learned with RIM, doesn't the court have to treat the patent as if it is valid, if it hasn't been thrown out yet? Yes, I understand that it's a good reason NOT to issue an injunction, but they still can't throw out the suit, can they?

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 8:44am

    Re:

    Apparently they can, because they did.

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    dorp, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 8:51am

    Re: Wonder? That's bread.

    Actually, no I don't because I know why GameFly settled. It was cheaper than the lawsuit.

    Sometimes I wonder if you are one of ACs coming out of hiding. The lawsuit against Blockbuster and Netflix was dismissed. GameFly settled because they were afraid of the verdict. Now that they see what the results are, they can regret their decision, as they still spent oodles of money on lawyers plus a settlement while these guys smacked the patent holder down.

    Did you miss your coffee today or something?

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 9:08am

    Re:

    They didn't throw out the suit because the patent was invalid, they threw it out because they found that Blockbuster/Netflix didn't infringe it.

     

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

  10.  
    icon
    Brad Hubbard (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 9:49am

    Re: Re:

    I don't know if that's true. The patent was filed in 2004, granted in 2008. Netflix was incorporated in 1997, and had a million subscribers by 2003, and this feature was present.

    The only way you'd get a summary dismissal is if you could show that the patent could not POSSIBLY have been infringed upon. Given that it exactly describes the queue-reporting system of Netflix, you have to figure they showed "We had this in place (in public use) before they even filed".

    While the court didn't rule to invalidate the patent, they DID rule to treat it as though it were.

     

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This