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Apple faces patent lawsuits over iTunes, iPod

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By LC Angell

Contributing Editor
Published: Saturday, March 5, 2005
News Categories: Apple

Apple has recently been confronted by two companies that say Apple is infringing on their patents with its popular iTunes and iPod products.

A Hong Kong-based company called Pat-rights claims its holds a patent on the digital rights management (DRM) process that Apple uses in the iTunes Music Store and iPod. The company is demanding 12 percent of Apple’s gross revenue from iTunes and iPods. Pat-rights said it will file a lawsuit on March 21 if the company and Apple do not reach an agreement before then.

Meanwhile, Illinois-based Advanced Audio Devices, has reportedly sued Apple, claiming that the company’s iPod violates one of its patents. A Chicago Tribune article is scant on details, but the paper does say that Advanced Audio told Apple in December that the iPod infringed on its “Music Jukebox” patent. Apple “ignored [Advanced Audio’s] attempt to seek a business resolution,” the federal suit said.

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Comments

1

there are always bastards who seek fortunes by putting their hands in others pokets.

Posted by frankthetank on March 5, 2005 at 5:30 PM (PDT)

2

Like Apple, you mean?

Live by the lawsuit, die by the lawsuit.

Posted by stark23x on March 5, 2005 at 7:16 PM (PDT)

3

I always smirk when these people only seem to come out of the woodwork when there is money to be made.  If apple wasn’t making $h*tloads of cash on iPods and iTunes sales these guys would not care at all.

Posted by Xenious on March 5, 2005 at 7:34 PM (PDT)

4

Well, uh, duh!

Of course people only come out of the woodworks when money is made.

Fishes,
narco.

Posted by narco in Burbank on March 5, 2005 at 7:57 PM (PDT)

5

Why would either of these claimants have any rights to iPod sales, which is where all the money is?

The DRM comes from the iTMS and the jukebox is limited to iTunes.

Obviously both are going after the market leader, since other DAPs have similar general concepts with DRM and jukebox SW.

Posted by wco81 in West Coast on March 5, 2005 at 8:06 PM (PDT)

6

If their patents were stolen, Apple should pay. Courts will have to determine that, because I sure can’t!

Posted by Nagromme on March 5, 2005 at 10:06 PM (PDT)

7

USA sucks - its the land of the patents ! smile - how can you “patent” an idea for a lifetime - what if someone else thinks the same, with no connection to the first one with the patent ?

Europe rules !

Posted by Sergiusz 4G-20GB & Shuffle 512 MB on March 6, 2005 at 12:54 AM (PDT)

8

Very funny, Sergiu-whateveryourname is.  Perhaps the software patent uproar in Europe hasn’t reached your hamlet yet.  Pretty much the same idea.

Posted by jfarrx19 in Pittsburgh, Pa. on March 6, 2005 at 4:30 AM (PDT)

9

patents arent for life, they run out(after like 20 years or something)

Posted by Locke on March 6, 2005 at 7:12 AM (PDT)

10

26 years, I believe.  Anyhow, I think these lawsuits are based upon too broad a definition of what a patent covers.  Patents should cover either (1) completely unique concepts, or (2) unique & specific implementations.  IMO, neither of these claims is based on a unique concept, as DRM could be seen simply as an extension of software/OS permission systems, and as “jukebox” software isn’t very different from any playlist-based player in existence, let alone, say…  *actual* jukeboxes.

As these aren’t unique concepts, the only way one could reasonably see Apple as violating the patents is if they’re using the same or extremely similar implementation.

I may be off base from a legal standpoint, I don’t know.  But if I am, I’d say the law is off base from a common-sense standpoint.

Posted by SPThom on March 6, 2005 at 11:49 AM (PDT)

11

I think apple should go to jail smile

Posted by iStink on March 6, 2005 at 4:35 PM (PDT)

12

If the claimants sday they thought of the product first….why arent they making s**loads of money like apple with their own products? Everyone just want a piece of the pie i guess!

Posted by Vinod in Singapore on March 6, 2005 at 9:06 PM (PDT)

13

Do you really think Apple would have pushed so wholeheartedly on a product who’s foundation lies in its patent protection if they didn’t do their homework?  I don’t think so.  I think they did more than their share of homework…  narco was right, gold diggers come out when gold’s in the air. 

“The company is demanding 12 percent of Apple’s gross revenue… ...if the company and Apple do not reach an agreement…”

If the company were TRULY concerned about the I.P. (intellectual property) involved in this case, than they wouldn’t be concerned about a settlement “agreement.”  This is the CLASSIC “sweat ‘em for cash” scenario.  Apple will pay a sum of money (no where close to 12 percent of ipod’s revenues) to shut the company up and assume no liability and continue to rule the digital music world unchallenged.  EVEN IF APPLE ISN"T IN THE WRONG.  This company knows that the bad press could damage the iPod’s name and credibilty, so they know apple won’t go to court. And even if they DID go to court, and win, it would only look llke the “big” company beating up on the little guy.  This company ONLY wants money, because apple is doing well.  They don’t care about their so-called patents.

THATS what this world has come to…  makes me ashamed to be human.

Posted by apple juice in USA on March 7, 2005 at 6:24 AM (PDT)

14

BTW, get your ipods now… because after lawsuits like these, you can bet the cost are going to go back up. 

i can see it now…
ipod shuffle=199
ipod-349
color ipods-499

I SWEAR- lawyers are sub-human trash.

Posted by apple juice in USA on March 7, 2005 at 6:28 AM (PDT)

15

I dont’ see much details on the Advanced Audio Devices suit, however from what I’ve read on the patent (anyone can read the patent), they have a case…but I agree, not on iPods, but just iTunes.  The technology on the patent describes a software that is used by iTunes, not iPod. 

Now, if they can somehow link the fact that itunes and ipod work together and cannot exist without the other, they may have an outside chance.  However, we all know you can download iTunes for CD making purposes, not just iPod.

Posted by Jabberwock on March 7, 2005 at 7:16 AM (PDT)

16

Hey.  It happens.

As for myself, I invented the concept of sticking a matchbook under the 8-Track to make it play correctly.  Millions used my idea, and I still have not received DIME ONE in remuneration.

You haven’t heard the last of me….

Posted by Capnquirky in Shell Pile New Jersey on March 7, 2005 at 7:26 AM (PDT)

17

Let me rephrase what I said.

The AAD suit, I haven’t read much of, nor is there specifics enough to really go with.

The Pat-rights lawsuit will be interesting.  I went to the US Patent office website and searched the patent in question.  It looks pretty convincing, once you understand all the legal wording.  *sigh*. 

However, I do agree their claim to 12% of iPod sales is ludicrous.

Posted by Jabberwock on March 7, 2005 at 7:31 AM (PDT)

18

Hah, yea Cap, but didja patent it? raspberry

Posted by Jabberwock on March 7, 2005 at 7:32 AM (PDT)

19

I expect the “jukebox” case to get slapped with a statement of “prior art”.

Posted by SPThom on March 7, 2005 at 9:32 AM (PDT)

20

having just read the AAD patent, whilt there is some similarity in some areas, there patent relates specifically to a “physical jukebox”. Requiring at least one line out jack and to quote from the Patent: The music jukebox 30 is a easy-to-use stand-alone audio recording device that can receive signals from an analog audio source and produce digital recordings onto a compact disc and : A general object of the present invention is to provide a music jukebox which provides advantages not generally provided by other presently available compact disc recorders.

So to my eyes, and there pretty good, there patent is for a completely different device… sadly now outdated by the PC…oopppps….missed out there then

Posted by equalizer on March 7, 2005 at 9:46 AM (PDT)

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