Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick




Wireless Speaker Patent Holder Sues Slingbox Over Place Shifting

from the not-quite-what-the-patent-system-intended dept

One of the problems with the big patent awards that have been given out lately is that patent holders will look for just about anything that might possibly maybe-if-you-squinted be considered to infringe on a patent they hold. Witness the latest case (of course, filed in the Easter Texas court that patent holders flock to), where the guy who holds a patent on wireless speakers is suing place shifting device maker, Sling Media. Sling Media's Slingbox is a very useful little device that hooks up to your TV and lets you access the content on your TV (or DVR) via any internet connection. If that seems a lot more advanced than wireless speakers, you'd be correct. It certainly sounds like the guy is claiming that his patent on wireless speakers basically applies to place shifting any content -- which is a huge stretch. Of course, with the way some courts have been handing out huge prizes to patent holders, no wonder he thinks it's worth a shot.

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  • identicon
    Chris, 16 Feb 2007 @ 11:53am

    What's next?

    I wonder if he's given any thought to those wonderful little FM modulator / transmitter's for iPod, Sirius, XM, etc....

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

  • identicon
    Chris, 16 Feb 2007 @ 11:55am

    or...

    ... or to take things to even more of an extreme, remote controls. Isn't that effectively place-shifting your finger to the buttons on the TV / VCR / PVR / DVD / Sat / etc? :P

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Feb 2007 @ 11:56am

    thats funny very soon it would be wirless headsets too

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

  • identicon
    The infamous Joe, 16 Feb 2007 @ 12:09pm

    Math

    That last line pretty much sums up what is wrong with patent legal cases.

    I don't blame the bottomfeeders-- they are just following their nature of bottomfeeding, I blame the people who make it "worth a shot" for them to do so.

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

  • identicon
    Sanguine Dream, 16 Feb 2007 @ 1:21pm

    Good point Joe

    There are way too many bottomfeeders to try to take them all out. On the other hand there aren't as many people that make it "worth a shot", which is why patent holders flock to certain friendly courts.

    So if I understand this right place shifting is simply moving content from one device to another? If so then internet itself is violating this guy's patent.

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

  • identicon
    DV Henkel-Wallace, 16 Feb 2007 @ 1:45pm

    Prior art

    My understanding is that this also counts as "place shifting."

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

    • identicon
      Dosquatch, 16 Feb 2007 @ 5:21pm

      Re: Prior art

      Thank you for that. I was going to post pretty much exactly the same point - radio and television are prior art.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous of Course, 16 Feb 2007 @ 3:12pm

    I wouldn't call it innovative

    The patent is 6,212,282 and it begins with the
    premise that wireless speakers/hadphones are
    of limited range at 900Mhz and cites some prior
    art.

    So he does the A/D and D/A thing and also uses
    the link for control of the source device.

    It's pretty obvious to anyone familiar with FCC
    part 15 that for increased range you have to
    move to spread spectrum and run more power,
    like cordless telephones have already done /and
    some other audio devices as well./

    Slingbox is not a speaker, this guy is grasping at straws.
    His patent is pretty shakey as well if prior art matters
    a jot.

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

  • identicon
    Gregory, 15 Mar 2013 @ 6:27am

    Wow i wonder how that court case went with this case. You know, some people think they are entitled to some things. The wireless speaker system is an ingenious idea and I do think other companies should be entitled to have the choice to develop products like these, that is if he wanted to close that option? Wireless speakers today have improved alot, with some you would'nt even know they are wireless because of the quality of sound they produce today. Thanks for informing us.

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

  • icon
    AltavocesBluetooth (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 5:51am

    We are doing something wrong with the patent system...

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


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