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. identicon
    nonuser, 17 Apr 2006 @ 8:25pm

    these guys are full of it

    Google "US Patent #5,164,839" for the patent text (one of them anyway).

    The claims seem to be the result of a brainstorming session of likely business trends in the young digital recording industry, incorporating then-new storage devices such as CD-ROM. The invention section discusses, at a very high level, the use of analog-to-digital conversion with the use of off-the-shelf components and suggests that compression can be employed to advantage. However, that was obvious to those in the videoconferencing business, who had been experimenting with and marketing various digital compression techniques for audio and video since the early 1980's.

    I'll grant that I'm not a practiced reader of patents, so maybe one of the inventors who frequents these boards can have a look.

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