Apple Loses Patent Lawsuit... Over Playlists

from the yeah,-that's-innovation dept

East Texas is famous for its patent lawsuits, and even though the Federal Circuit had suggested in the past that district courts be more willing to transfer patent cases out of East Texas, companies keep coming up with tricks to stay in East Texas. Take, for example, the company Personal Audio. Despite not actually being based in East Texas, the company set up "offices" in East Texas two months before suing Apple and others over two patents (6,199,076 and 7,509,178) concerning music players, where playlists can be pushed to the players.

Those new offices had no employees and just so happened to be "based" in the same offices as their patent attorneys (shocking coincidence, I'm sure). But, because of that, the case was allowed to stay in East Texas.

And... of course, there's a reason why they wanted it in East Texas. Because Personal Audio has been awarded $8 million from Apple for those patents. It's not a huge ruling, of course (which might also suggest a reason for Apple to just pay up, rather than appeal), but it's yet another example of the problems of the patent system today.
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Filed Under: east texas, patents, playlists
Companies: apple, personal audio


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  1. identicon
    patent litigation, 25 Jul 2011 @ 7:44pm

    no surprise

    When patent trolls regularly collect triple the amount of damages awarded to practicing entities in patent litigation, it is certainly no surprise that more NPEs (non-practicing entities, or "patent trolls") are springing up and becoming ever more aggressive. They have everything to gain and relatively little to lose by filing patent enforcement actions. I fear that the only way to minimize the threat that PAEs pose to small businesses is by eliminating their incentives to assert patents -- i.e., by limiting the damages that they can collect. In the meantime, you can't really blame a company like Personal Audio for taking advantage of weaknesses in the legal system.

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