Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
continuation patents, ipod, itunes, patents


Apple Sued Yet Again For Patent Infringement Over iTunes/iPod

from the promoting-what-kind-of-progress,-exactly? dept

Apple has been sued over and over again by companies claiming to hold patents on some of the most basic concepts found in Apple's iTunes and iPod offerings. However, given Apple's seeming willingness to pay up to settle such suits, it really shouldn't be a surprise that more companies are coming up with even more ridiculous patents to sue over. The latest is from a company named ZapMe which claims to hold a couple of patents that it says covers iTunes and the iPod. Of course the company is demanding an injunction and damages, though it seems unlikely that a court would ever grant an injunction. As for the patents themselves one was granted back in 2006 and the other came earlier this week. The newer patent is actually a "continuation" patent, a process that has been widely abused by some patent holders to adjust older patents to make sure they cover newer technologies. The Patent Office has been trying to put some limits on continuations, but a court recently wouldn't allow them to put the new rules in place. Take a read through the patent itself and explain, please, how this possibly served the purpose of furthering innovation?

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  1. identicon
    DanC, 13 Mar 2008 @ 12:57pm

    Found an interesting article from 2006 concerning ZapMedia here

    From the article:

    While ZapMedia’s business strategy may be suspect in hindsight, they were ahead in the digital media rights game with their 1999 filing of patent number 7,020,704 titled, “System and method for distributing media assets to user devices via a portal synchronized by said user devices”. This was the first of four patents covering all of ZapMedia’s technologies. There have been numerous reports of the potential disruption that this patent may cause in the digital media marketplace, as it appears that Apple (and others) may not have secured their freedom to operate.

    ZapMedia Services (successor to ZapMedia Inc.’s assets) has a new business strategy that doesn’t involve a courtroom battle. On March 28, 2006, ZapMedia was granted their patent and has indicated that they are not interested in enforcing the patent rights.

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