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Software maker OpenTV has filed a patent lawsuit against Apple based on accusations that several of the company's products and services, including iTunes, infringe upon five of its patents related to streaming digital video. The civil suit was filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, and OpenTV is seeking undiclosed compensation for the alleged patent infringement, according to Re/code.
"OpenTV alleges that Apple's iTunes software for downloading or streaming rented movies violates its patents for securely delivering media to consumer devices. The suit claims that other companies, including Apple rival Google, Cisco Systems and Disney, have licensed its technology."
In late February, a Tyler, Texas district court ordered Apple to pay $532.9 million to patent licensing firm Smartflash LLC in a separate iTunes-related lawsuit for infringing upon the Texas-based company's patents related to digital rights management, data storage and managing access through payment systems. Apple argued that Smartflash was exploiting the patent system and vowed to appeal the decision.

OpenTV was an early provider of interactive TV software used in millions of TV set-top boxes, according to the report, and the wholly owned subsidiary of The Kudelski Group now creates software for on-demand video services and digital video recorders. OpenTV's patents belong to a portfolio of more than 4,400 pending and issued patents related to the secure delivery of media.

Article Link: OpenTV Files Lawsuit Against Apple Over Allegations iTunes Violates Five Patents
 

illegalprelude

macrumors 68000
Mar 10, 2005
1,580
119
Los Angeles, California
Man we live in such a 'business heavy' country where corporations seemingly enjoy more benefits than the people so it's absurd that we cannot get some patent reform going. I mean seriously, how much money has a company like Apple waisted on patent trolls?
 

Amazing Iceman

macrumors 601
Nov 8, 2008
4,371
2,495
Florida, U.S.A.
What else is news?
If it's not about the Apple Watch, Beats Music, the DoJ or the European Union, it had to be about a patent lawsuit. :mad:

This is just a Zombie attack from a company that's practically the corpse of a long ago promising company.
 
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oneMadRssn

macrumors 603
Sep 8, 2011
5,598
13,033
Europe
Man we live in such a 'business heavy' country where corporations seemingly enjoy more benefits than the people so it's absurd that we cannot get some patent reform going. I mean seriously, how much money has a company like Apple waisted on patent trolls?

The America Invents Act, AIA, in 2011, introduced a lot of reform which has caused a measurable decline in nuisance suits, has make it affordable to challenge bad patents, and made broad multi-defendant suits impossible. The Supreme Court has also reformed many things, including limiting software patents and making it easier for defendants to recoup their fees if they win. Both of these has increased the quality of patents, decreased the quantity of bad patents, brought down the cost of litigation, and reduced the number of nuisance suits.

What other reform do you want?
 
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sracer

macrumors G3
Apr 9, 2010
9,392
11,061
where hip is spoken
Man we live in such a 'business heavy' country where corporations seemingly enjoy more benefits than the people so it's absurd that we cannot get some patent reform going. I mean seriously, how much money has a company like Apple waisted on patent trolls?
Why do you think that OpenTV is a patent troll? Or is it simply the act of suing Apple that defines a patent troll?
 
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clibinarius

macrumors 6502a
Aug 26, 2010
668
63
NY
The America Invents Act, AIA, in 2011, introduced a lot of reform which has caused a measurable decline in nuisance suits, has make it affordable to challenge bad patents, and made broad multi-defendant suits impossible. The Supreme Court has also reformed many things, including limiting software patents and making it easier for defendants to recoup their fees if they win. Both of these has increased the quality of patents, decreased the quantity of bad patents, brought down the cost of litigation, and reduced the number of nuisance suits.

What other reform do you want?

All non-apple companies to forfeit! When do we want it? Now!
 

shyam09

macrumors 68020
Oct 31, 2010
2,188
2,299
Man we live in such a 'business heavy' country where corporations seemingly enjoy more benefits than the people so it's absurd that we cannot get some patent reform going. I mean seriously, how much money has a company like Apple waisted on patent trolls?
I would guess that Apple has wasted 100x more going after companies that infringed on the stupid patents that they managed to secure.
 

Mascots

macrumors 68000
Sep 5, 2009
1,633
1,360
Come on MacRumors, do us some digging and give us a few links to the patents.

Looking for them now - I'm pretty sure, in order to receive a patent like this, you'd have to specify a specific method in which the delivery and processes happen. Apple typically likes to code around those kinds of patients, utilizing the idea in another context. Especially when it comes to something proprietary like iTunes. Let's see how far into the red zone Apple has crossed...
 

britboyj

macrumors 6502a
Apr 8, 2009
706
829
Why do you think that OpenTV is a patent troll? Or is it simply the act of suing Apple that defines a patent troll?

Because they've waited this long to file. If the Apple TV really violated their patents, they'd have said something before now.
 

macbeta

macrumors regular
Nov 13, 2009
138
290
Why do you think that OpenTV is a patent troll? Or is it simply the act of suing Apple that defines a patent troll?

Anyone that manages to patent a simple idea that should not have ever been allowed to be patented is a Troll. I mean really, some of the most simple concepts have managed to slip by the patent office.

Every idea, unless truly novel and ground breaking, is based on all knowledge and culture that came before it. To slice off a part of that and call it MINE is problematic. Thats what the court should be for in these cases, to decide it it really a new and novel idea. Im guessing far too many are really not, just minor iterations.
 

samcraig

macrumors P6
Jun 22, 2009
16,640
41,619
USA
What else is news?
If it's not about the Apple Watch, Beats Music, the DoJ or the European Union, it had to be about a patent lawsuit. :mad:

This is just a Zombie attack from a company that's practically the corpse of a long ago promising company.

Because they've waited this long to file. If the Apple TV really violated their patents, they'd have said something before now.

Anyone that manages to patent a simple idea that should not have ever been allowed to be patented is a Troll. I mean really, some of the most simple concepts have managed to slip by the patent office.

Every idea, unless truly novel and ground breaking, is based on all knowledge and culture that came before it. To slice off a part of that and call it MINE is problematic. Thats what the court should be for in these cases, to decide it it really a new and novel idea. Im guessing far too many are really not, just minor iterations.

Some of the comments in this thread are silly.

There could be many reasons why they never filed until "now." For example, one might be that they didn't think they would win, but that now there's a precedent on a similar case, it's worthwhile spending the money as it's less likely to cost them in the long run.

Second - at the time of the patents, these types of delivery channels were being born. It's easy to look at something now and deem in not worthy of a patent. And on that note, I believe that the patent system is broken anyway. Certainly a lot of patents NOW being issued are just jokes.

Third - legacy technology - whether being actively used or not - does not a troll make. If a company spends money on R&D and comes up with a way of doing something - whether it's immediate or years later, it's still valid to protect their investment and IP.
 
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ardchoille50

macrumors 68020
Feb 6, 2014
2,142
1,221
What other reform do you want?

Here's a possibility:

"No entity may pursue patent infringement litigation unless said entity owns the patent and is actively marketing and distributing a device/service wherein said patented technology is being utilized"

It's just an idea, and I could be wrong here, but it sounds like this would be beneficial. Well, beneficial to everyone except some of the patent trolls.
 
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oneMadRssn

macrumors 603
Sep 8, 2011
5,598
13,033
Europe
Here's a possibility:

"No entity may pursue patent infringement litigation unless said entity owns the patent and is actively marketing and distributing a device/service wherein said patented technology is being utilized"

It's just an idea, and I could be wrong here, but it sounds like this would be beneficial. Well, beneficial to everyone except some of the patent trolls.

It's a fairly old idea, and one that has been debated a bit but mostly dismissed. Two reasons it will actually result in terrible outcomes:

First, this would restrict one of the most innovative members of our society from securing patents, universities. Indeed, many public research institutions rely on patents. In an economy as specialized as ours, it doesn't make sense to require everyone to practice their own inventions. That is what licensing is for. Company A's job is to invent, company B's job is to manufacture, company C's job is to market, and the store's job is to sell. It makes no sense to require Company A to take on all those roles if it doesn't see value in doing so, and when it might be more economicaly efficient to license the patent to B, C, or store instead.

Second, this would restrict a very important part of our economy, and one that is critical to our small businesses and large ones alike: investment. Financial backers of innovators who invest in a company understand that, even if that company’s business fails, its patent portfolio will have value. That value serves as a significant hedge against the substantial risk of investing in new and unproven technology. Erasing it would reduce investment in innovation.

Also, most famously, Thomas Edison did not practice many of his patents. Surely he deserved the rights and protections they offered. :D

----------

And this matters why?

It might matter because if a patent owner knows about infringement, and does nothing about it for a long time, it might be estopped from asserting their rights if the infringer relied on your continued inaction. It's the doctrine of shackles.
 

ardchoille50

macrumors 68020
Feb 6, 2014
2,142
1,221
It's a fairly old idea, and one that has been debated a bit but mostly dismissed. Two reasons it will actually result in terrible outcomes:

First, this would restrict one of the most innovative members of our society from securing patents, universities. Indeed, many public research institutions rely on patents. In an economy as specialized as ours, it doesn't make sense to require everyone to practice their own inventions. That is what licensing is for. Company A's job is to invent, company B's job is to manufacture, company C's job is to market, and the store's job is to sell. It makes no sense to require Company A to take on all those roles if it doesn't see value in doing so, and when it might be more economicaly efficient to license the patent to B, C, or store instead.

Second, this would restrict a very important part of our economy, and one that is critical to our small businesses and large ones alike: investment. Financial backers of innovators who invest in a company understand that, even if that company’s business fails, its patent portfolio will have value. That value serves as a significant hedge against the substantial risk of investing in new and unproven technology. Erasing it would reduce investment in innovation.

Also, most famously, Thomas Edison did not practice many of his patents. Surely he deserved the rights and protections they offered. :D

Thank you taking the time to explain all of that, you make some good points.
 

samcraig

macrumors P6
Jun 22, 2009
16,640
41,619
USA
It might matter because if a patent owner knows about infringement, and does nothing about it for a long time, it might be estopped from asserting their rights if the infringer relied on your continued inaction. It's the doctrine of shackles.

Indeed. It might. Although I'm not sure one is required to assert their rights at a specific time. I'm not up on my patent law, but I would think that as long as you are the patent holder, you can decided when/if to litigate.

My comment, however, stems from the fact that that some here seem to think the company is merely trolling. I don't think one can make that deduction automatically.
 

Joe Rossignol

Editor
Staff member
May 12, 2012
701
2,012
🇨🇦
Come on MacRumors, do us some digging and give us a few links to the patents.

Looking for them now - I'm pretty sure, in order to receive a patent like this, you'd have to specify a specific method in which the delivery and processes happen. Apple typically likes to code around those kinds of patients, utilizing the idea in another context. Especially when it comes to something proprietary like iTunes. Let's see how far into the red zone Apple has crossed...

U.S. district court documents are obtainable through a service called PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records), but there is a charge of 10¢ per page viewed and, while that isn't an outrageous price, I do not support having to pay for public access to information of this kind. I am definitely open to looking into any alternative services that you may know of, but based on a quick Google search, it seems that all PACER alternatives also have fees.
 

robbyx

Suspended
Oct 18, 2005
1,152
1,128
Here's a possibility:

"No entity may pursue patent infringement litigation unless said entity owns the patent and is actively marketing and distributing a device/service wherein said patented technology is being utilized"

It's just an idea, and I could be wrong here, but it sounds like this would be beneficial. Well, beneficial to everyone except some of the patent trolls.

I'm definitely not a fan of the current patent system but the problem with this approach is that it penalizes inventors and people who simply can't bring the actual product to market (for any number of reasons, most likely lack of capital).
 

jw2002

macrumors 6502
Feb 23, 2008
392
59
What other reform do you want?

1. Not awarding junk patents in the first place.
2. Disciplinary action against examiners who award junk patents.
3. Re-examination of all existing patents using tighter standards in order to cull out the junk patents.

Clearly, the 2011 reforms are not sufficient if patent trolls still possess patents and are still initiating lawsuits.
 
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