Burst.com Follows The Expected Path: Sues Apple For Patent Infringement

from the who-didn't-see-that-coming? dept

If you didn't see this coming, then you obviously haven't been paying much attention lately. Just last week there was an article saying that Burst.com would sue Apple and now it's happened. Burst.com is known for having patented a method for moving large pieces of content online at faster speeds. Years back, the company was talking to Microsoft about doing a deal, but eventually Microsoft backed out and upgraded their Windows Media player in a way that blocked out Burst and seemed to copy much of what Burst's technology did. It seemed like a clear case where the bigger company had unfairly picked the brains of the small company, only to turn around and try to put them out of business -- though, there were some who simply accused Burst of having sour grapes about losing in the market place, combined with a questionable business strategy that included being all too trusting of Microsoft -- an obvious competitor. There are also those who suggest Burst's patents aren't anything special, and never should have been granted in the first place -- but that's an entirely different discussion. Burst eventually won a $60 million settlement with Microsoft, helped along by a suspiciously timed missing chunk of Microsoft emails that discussed their meetings with Burst. Of course, rather than get back into the business of providing actual products, Burst.com figured out that the patent licensing world was a lucrative one -- and set its sights on Apple. Last year, they approached Apple, suggesting that the company pay it 2% of iTunes' revenue. Apple then went on the offensive in January, proactively asking a judge to either invalidate Burst's patents or declare that Apple wasn't infringing. Just to make the litigation circle complete, after a few months of trying to reach a middle settlement ground, Burst has now gone ahead and sued Apple on its own -- meaning yet another high profile patent battle for everyone to follow.
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  1. icon
    Mike (profile), 17 Apr 2006 @ 11:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What your reader meant was that people have a right to defend their IP. If the company is now in the business of protecting their IP and not a product-focused business it is because the Microsoft monopolists violated their IP and that is all they have left..

    Okay, so after they won $60 million from the lawsuit... they couldn't invest that into making products? No, instead they went for more patent lawsuits rather than investing that money into bringing a product to market.

    Your comment makes it sound like property rights are a bad thing -- very Larry Lessig of you.

    Huh? I'm afraid I don't understand this comment. My point on property rights has been clear. They have both positive and negative effects. Unfortunately, too many people ignore the negative effects, because they tend to be "unintended." I think they should be brought out in the open so that we can have a real discussion. If we're looking to encourage innovation, why aren't we looking at both effects, and measuring them to understand how to minimize the negative effects and encourage the positive ones? Instead, all we get are people insisting there are no negative effects, and the positive effects are perfect in every way.

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