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.

Filed Under: , ,
Companies: apple, at&t, dell, lenovo, microsoft, napster, real, sprint, toshiba, verizon, viacom

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Playlist Patented… Everyone Sued… But Did Apple Pay Up?”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Craig (user link) says:

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?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Whoa. says:


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.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...