Thursday, March 13, 2008
Company sues iTunes over alleged patent violations
An Apple Nano and ITunes music card on a computer keyboard in 2007. A small US firm said Wednesday it has filed a lawsuit accusing Apple's online music store iTunes of using its patented technology for distributing digitized music and video.
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.
An Apple spokeswoman said the company doesn't comment on pending lawsuits.
A small US firm said Wednesday it has filed a lawsuit accusing Apple's online music store iTunes of using its patented technology for distributing digitized music and video.
ZapMedia Services Inc. is demanding unspecified damages and royalties from California-based Apple for supposedly using its intellectual property in iPod MP3 players and iTunes.
"The complaint alleges that ZapMedia Services' property is being exploited in a manner which is unlawful," ZapMedia attorney Steven Hill of law firm Hill, Kertscher & Wharton said in a written release.
A lawsuit filed in a US district court in Texas contends ZapMedia began work on a "system and method for distributing media assets to user devices via a portal synchronized by said user devices" in the late 1990s.
ZapMedia contends it met with Apple and "major technology and media companies around the globe" while crafting an online content delivery platform which it eventually patented.
Apple launched its iTunes digital content software in 2001.
ZapMedia said it tried to resolve the alleged patent violation complaint with Apple before resorting to a lawsuit. Apple declined to comment on the lawsuit as per its policy not to discuss pending litigation.
Posted by SANJIDA AFROJ at 5:17 PM