by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jan 10th 2008 2:02pm
We've covered the history of Burst.com and its questionable patents before. While the company was recently able to squeeze $10 million out of Apple, following the $60 million it got from Microsoft, speculation had begun on who the next target would be. In fact, apparently a Burst investor had started posting videos to YouTube trying to show how a variety of companies all infringed on Burst's patents. Of course, if we had a sane patent system, most people would look at this to suggest that the concepts in Burst's patents were fairly obvious and never should have received patent protection in the first place -- but that's not how things work these days. Among the companies listed in the videos were Google, AOL, Adobe and RealNetworks. Apparently, that was enough to worry RealNetworks, who has filed for a declaratory judgment in Northern California claiming that it does not infringe on Burst's patents. This was, by the way, the same strategy that Apple took (suing first) almost exactly two years ago. With so much fear of cases getting forced into Marshall, Texas, it's no surprise that those threatened would try to file for declaratory judgments on friendlier grounds. It will be interesting to see if Google, AOL or Adobe follow suit.
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