Thursday, March 13th 2008

Apple Sued Over iTunes Technology

Apple Inc. was sued Wednesday over allegations its iTunes online music store and iPod music players are illegally using a patented method for distributing digital media over the Internet. Atlanta-based ZapMedia Services Inc. sued Apple in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, accusing the Cupertino-based company of violating two ZapMedia patents. ZapMedia wants royalties on Apple's sales of iPods and iTunes music, which reached nearly $11 billion last year. The success of iTunes has helped make Apple the No. 2 music retailer in the U.S. behind Wal-Mart Stores Inc., according to market researcher NPD Group. The patents in question cover a way of sending music and other digital content from servers to multiple media players, a broad description that could also apply to a wide swath of other companies selling digital media and the devices to play it. ZapMedia applied for the patents in 1999. One was granted in March 2006, the other on Tuesday. ZapMedia said it met with Apple to discuss licensing, but Apple rebuffed the offer. "When someone takes our vision and our intellectual property without a license after several attempts, we have no option but to protect it through every means available to us," Robert Frohwein, ZapMedia's general counsel, said in a statement.Source: The Associated Press
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18 Comments on Apple Sued Over iTunes Technology

#1
hacker111
WOW. They made that much money and it is just going to be handed over to this company? (If they prove it?) To be honest I am a fan of Apple and its Ipods but I don't believe that they did it. They are a good company and loved by alot of people.
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#2
DanTheBanjoman
Señor Moderator
hacker111 said:
WOW. They made that much money and it is just going to be handed over to this company? (If they prove it?) To be honest I am a fan of Apple and its Ipods but I don't believe that they did it. They are a good company and loved by alot of people.
So because people love them they can't do anything wrong? That's quite naive.

Plus how is not believing they did anything wrong a "but" to being a fan?
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#3
candle_86
well for violation of the first one they can be had for some cash, but for the second one not really, read the patent laws. Once an idea is patened, aka the patent is issued only then does it become your property. So Apple isnt worried about the 2nd patent really, just the first if it can be proven.
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#4
cjoyce1980
as good as steve jobs and apple are, i do hope they get screwed.

apple has been taking the piss with its customers over the last few year, giving us alot of half arsed products. the iphone is a prime example of this. yes it looks pretty, but only had half the functionality of the N95 if it was lucky and that phone was out 6 months prior to the iphone.

apple use to be about the right product first time, whether it was hardware or software i would like they to return to this
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#5
Kreij
Senior Monkey Moderator
candle_86 said:
well for violation of the first one they can be had for some cash, but for the second one not really, read the patent laws. Once an idea is patened, aka the patent is issued only then does it become your property. So Apple isnt worried about the 2nd patent really, just the first if it can be proven.
Not necessarily true ...
No infringement action may be started until the patent is issued. However, pre-grant protection is available under 35 U.S.C. § 154(d), which allows a patent owner to obtain reasonable royalty damages for certain infringing activities that occurred before patent's date of issuance.
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#6
jocksteeluk
The one thing i dislike about companies like this is the gain patents seemingly act as a sleeper with the intent of suing someone in the future rather than actually using the patent for the benefit of themselves or the consumer.
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#7
mdm-adph
Well, did ZapMedia ever even use this patent? IANAL, but I'm pretty sure that if they just patented a process and then sat around on it, their case is a lot harder to prove.
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#8
DMSMac_Consult
The idea that you can patent something like "sending files from servers to computers and media devices" is kind of farked up in the first place ... the patent system in this country needs to take a very long look at itself ... is it protecting true inventors and innovators like Apple? Or is it protecting sue-happy idiots that manage to push through garbage patents about esoteric non-specific ideas that have likely already been in use in some form for years? (This one is as silly as the patent Creative supposedly had which patented organizing music by genre, alphabetical-artist, and alphabetical-album...)

To be honest, I bet Microsoft, Apple, AT&T, Berkeley, and a host of other Server OS vendors would probably contend that the idea of "sending files from servers to computers and media devices" was their prior art... it's called file sharing over TCP/IP. :banghead::banghead::banghead:
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#9
Kreij
Senior Monkey Moderator
It the courts rule in favor of this company, there is going to be much weeping and gnashing of teeth.

I read the patent. Almost every single website or service that distributes any kind of digital content (music, video, software) through the use of a portal (a server) from a database driven, account based model, to any kind of device cable of receiving the digital content, will be infringing on this patent.

For instance, Steam, D2D, TPU download section, etc.
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#10
thoughtdisorder
Perhaps Zap is assuming Apple will settle and they're banking on even a small % of the $11 billion which would be considerable??
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#11
surfsk8snow.jah
yep, my guess is now that they filed a formal suit, Apple will throw them a bone, they'll say "YAY!" and get outta town.
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#13
anticlutch
I hate anything Apple but damn... this is just ridiculous. We haven't seen a lawsuit like this in a while... I'm guessing it's not the "cool" thing to do amongst smaller companies anymore? :laugh:
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#14
beyond_amusia
haha! I hope they win and take a bite out of Apple. :)
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#15
Luke
I HATE PEOPLE WHO SUE EACH OTHER FOR NO REASON

It's just stupid
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#17
thoughtdisorder
Ravenas said:
I'm sure this is just a tiny prick in Apple's side, they made a little over 570$ million in profit last year, making them the #2 music retailer.
That is debatable. If you ask Steve Jobs he'll say the the tiny prick in his side is a guy named Bill!:laugh:
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#18
Ravenas
thoughtdisorder said:
That is debatable. If you ask Steve Jobs he'll say the the tiny prick in his side is a guy named Bill!:laugh:
Lol, I doubt Jobs would ever claim that.
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