The More Innovative You Are, The More You Get Sued; Yet Another Patent Lawsuit Over Shazam
from the aren't-patents-great? dept
Earlier this year, we noted that Apple and AT&T had been sued for patent infringement concerning Shazam, the popular service for identifying music. At the time, we noted how this was a clear demonstration of the difference between just the idea and the actual innovation. Shazam has been around for ages, and despite having a good idea (ability to identify music just by hearing it), it struggled for many, many years until the iPhone came along, and there was a platform on which its concept made sense. During that time Shazam kept trying out new things and improving its service. The basic concept behind Shazam (identifying music) isn’t that interesting. It was all the work that Shazam kept doing over the years to find the right mix of things that consumers wanted that made it worthwhile.
But, of course, patent holders continue to insist that it’s the original idea only that’s important.
So, once again, Shazam’s service is involved in a patent lawsuit, this time from Digimarc, who has sued Shazam directly, claiming infringement. Now, Digimarc claims that Shazam is infringing on its patents, even though Digimarc does not offer a similar service at all. In fact, Digimarc is in an entirely different business: it’s really a DRM company who wants to try to stop people from sharing or appreciating content, by locking it down. More recently, Digimarc has been focused on patenting its watermarking concept (despite plenty of prior art), and going the lawsuit route.
So, we have the tales of two companies who have been around for quite some time. One is focused on providing unique and compelling solutions that make consumers’ lives better. And the other is focused on locking things down and talking about its intellectual property. Guess which one’s getting sued by the other? So, please, explain again how patents encourage innovation? Once more, it looks like patents are being used to prevent actual innovating by those who prefer to lock up ideas.