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Netflix and Blockbuster settle over patent suits

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 27 Jun 2007 15:29 User comments (19)

Netflix and Blockbuster settle over patent suits The online rental giant Blockbuster has decided to settle with Netflix over accusations that it had infringed on a couple of Netlfix's online DVD rental patents when it launched Blockbuster Online.
In April 2006, Netflix accused Blockbuster of infringing on two patents and subsequently asked a judge to bar the company from allowing online rentals. The patents included the concept of the automatic queue and the concept of keeping DVDs for an unlimited amount of time "without incurring additional charges and to prioritize and reprioritize their own personal dynamic queue--of DVDs to be rented."

Netflix accused Blockbuster of completely ignoring the patents when they opened Blockbuster Online and Netflix added that the lawsuit "had to be taken in order to protect its business interests."

Blockbuster then countersued and accused Netflix of fraud and antitrust violations. The company also said the patents were very broad and therefore impossible to be enforced.

The terms of the settlement were not released but Blockbuster noted that it would not have any material effect on future revenue.

Source:
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19 user comments

127.6.2007 18:43

Glad to see that it all worked out peacefully in the end.

228.6.2007 14:46

anyone know what the agreement was?

why do I have a feelign something like this....


*if you play quietly in your room I will do the same, and the "toys" can be shared between us.*

328.6.2007 20:18
mdhimes
Inactive

I'm a PRO Netflix. Tried the Blockbuster for a month (free trial). There is no such thing a CUSTOMER PREFERRED PRIORITY with Blockbuster. Regardless of my preferred list, I got them in the order BLOCKBUSTER felt like sending them. I had 3 at the top of the list and NEVER got them during the trial. And then one day (mid-trial) one of those top 3 ... vanished, Poof !. Their support had nothing intelligent to say about it.

Their support was usually a joke. You would as a question then get replies that didn't have ANYTHING to do with the original questions !

Never went back, never will!

Another 2-cents for what it's worth

428.6.2007 21:15

Been with Blockbuster for a couple years now and I am completely satisfied. For the most part I get my movies on time and being able to exchange them in the store for new ones right away is very convenient.

529.6.2007 2:41

With out a doubt Net Flix has Blockbuster beat when it comes to the number of movies offered. The only problem is if you ever need customer service none is available. I quit them over this for awhile but ending up going back because of the movies they offer. Just never have a problem with them and they are okay.

629.6.2007 4:07
davidrose
Inactive

Had to have both for awhile, must say I preferred Netflix because the queue worked, and Blockbuster sent whatever they felt like, not to say this hasn't been fixed it is a constantly changing world not always for the better though, too bad.

729.6.2007 9:46

BB has less selection and way less movies to offer. That is why the queues 'do not work'. I have years on both services. After 5 years with NF, I have pretty much seen most of the old stuff. I have been with BB since the on-line service started. I just canceled my NF because there were no movies I wanted to see that BB did not have. What is good about BB is the swap. I dropped NF because my family can go through 5-6 movies in a week. With the swap I can get 6 with BB. For a while we tried to watch all the movies but we really did not have time to see more. We were sitting on NF movies for a week or two. It is impossible to get a human with NF and almost impossible with BB. NF charged me for a month that my account was in hibernate mode. I put into hibernation 3 days before my bill date. I was also charged on time when I started up. I was also supposed to get a free month because of a class action suit they never gave me that either. That kind of stuff really rubs me the wrong way. They steal your money and you cant even complain to a human. If that hibernate worked like it was stated I would have kept it for ever. NF is better when it comes to getting new releases of old stuff. My kids usually want to see new movies so BB is way better for that. Right now we are going through TV shows because we have seen all the movies we want to see.

BB suggestions are worthless and NF suggestions are poor. I don't even rate anything anymore. It is a waist of time.

829.6.2007 13:21

I'm a Netflix guy and love their selection so far. If I get tired of them, I'd try BB. Until then, I'm sticking to 'Flix.

BTW How can one patent renting movies by mail? It's like somebody patenting how to make a sandwich.

930.6.2007 22:50

I too have used both for many months. Used Netflix for a while until I became a victim of their throttling problems. Switched to blockbuster and enjoyed turning movies into the store for new ones instead of mail but BB sends them in random order, I rarely got what I really wanted. Netflix was great with list but if you are a heavy user, you might get ripped off. I don't know if they changed anything since then.

101.7.2007 7:43

No, NF will normally send you what ever you singned for once a week or less. For a few weeks they did better when BB started their new swap but within a month they were back to the same old stuff. I often put 2 disks in the same envelope. I live in the town with one of the main NF and BB hubs. I can put the returns in their postoffice mailbox with little effort. I know they get those the same day. Once I clearly remember I sent 2 in the same envelope. One they claimed they received in 3 days the next they claimed they got a week later. Yes, 10 days after they received it. That is how they treat long time heavey users. All you NF lovers can look forward to that treatment.

I think both companies insure the disks so it costs them more than just the postage. That is why BB can give you twice the movies if they only have to insure one way.

BB handles lost disks way better tha NF and the disks are usually in much better shape than NF. Still, if you actually want disk in the mail NFs is better for that. BB just does not have that kind of inventory to be able to send you what you asked for in the right order.

111.7.2007 7:57

Originally posted by mkezele66:
I too have used both for many months. Used Netflix for a while until I became a victim of their throttling problems. Switched to blockbuster and enjoyed turning movies into the store for new ones instead of mail but BB sends them in random order, I rarely got what I really wanted. Netflix was great with list but if you are a heavy user, you might get ripped off. I don't know if they changed anything since then.
I agree that BB is awful in sending movies in the order you want them. I had 6 in my queue recently all of them with "available", yet I received numbers 1,3 and 6. WTH is that?

Also cant say anything bad about Netflix, except for that now, I have been receiving many VERY scratched disks, some even unplayable. Their throttling issues are easily gotten around.

So although i dont pay, and probably wont ever pay for each of the services, after having months of each i can say netflix does a better job.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 01 Jul 2007 @ 7:59

122.7.2007 4:19

DVDBack23, as I said before BB does not have the inventory to give you what you ask for in the order you want. I have recieve disks that were not even in my top ten. If this unacceptable then BB is not for you.

Here is a explaination of terms for either Co. No wait means they have at least one disk in inventory in your mailing area. A short wait means they have none in inventory but a order is in. A long wait means they have none in inventory and the disk can not be purchased at this time.

Having rented close to 1,000 on NF and over 400 on BB using several accounts for both I am sure you need to use both for over 6 months before you can judge. NF treats new customers better. Each month after they treat you worse and worse. After 6 month of heavy usage they ream you. You will NEVER get a disk processed in a week. The first disk of the week will be processed right away the rest may not be 'received' that week. BB is fairly consistant they give you no 'honeymoon' like NF. After a few months of heavy use NFs will almost never process you disk in a week while BB will. BB is infinitly better if you are a heavy user. You get twice the disks for less money. You can count on 6 disks a week if your turnaround is quick enough. You have only paid $4.5 for the week for 6 disks. The bang for the buck can't be beat even by the buck a night vending machines.

You can play the game with NF and cancle and start a new account every 3 months. However, that is a huge pain for me. You still never get 6 disks in a week but you might get 5.

NFs are also poor with new releases while BB is great since you get them at the store. We always get what we want to see on day 1.

133.7.2007 8:49

Originally posted by Mez:
NFs are also poor with new releases while BB is great since you get them at the store.
Maybe that's why I don't have problems with Netflix. I rarely rent New Releases. My thing is Foreign, Series, Documentaries and Classics that are now available on DVD.

149.7.2007 6:55

I have been a Netflix customer since about six months after they started up. Several of my fellow tech nerds recommended them to me. I've been very happy with them as a videophile, because after acquiring all of Wal-Mart's DVD rental inventory, Netflix definitely has just about every DVD that ever existed. I was tempted by BlockBuster's similar service, but all I had to do was search their inventory to quickly realize that they simply cannot compete with Netflix when it comes to mailorder rental.

I do admit to recently reducing my Netflix service, though, because let's face it -- after you gone through all the old movies again, it's usually easier to just drop by the local BlockBuster store and pick up a new release rather than gambling on whether or not you'll time your Netflix returns in time to get the new release on a Tuesday. I might actually cancel Netflix altogether in the near future, but if I get nostalgic again, I would not hestate to re-open my account. The only problems I have had with Netflix were directly caused by my stupid USPS service was has become completely unreliable since they shifted from full-time USPS employees to retarded part-time contract red-necks delivering my mail (or not) in their beat-up old pickup truck.

159.7.2007 8:34

Originally posted by mkezele66:
Netflix was great with list but if you are a heavy user, you might get ripped off.
.....and put on the MPAA watch list.

169.7.2007 9:07

Why? Just because I receive 3 DVD's today and mail them the same day doesn't mean I'm ripping them to my PC...LOL

179.7.2007 9:13

Originally posted by hermes_vb:
Why? Just because I receive 3 DVD's today and mail them the same day doesn't mean I'm ripping them to my PC...LOL
Yes.....they feel that intense movie watching is the first indication that they have a pirate on their hands. It has nothing to do with the movie sucking and not worth watching past the first 10 minutes....lol

1810.7.2007 3:56

The throtteling is probably an attempt to level out the time it takes in the US mail. I live in the same town as the major hubs for both companies. Rarely, I would actually recieve disks 'before' they were shipped. They could get them back the day they were supposed to be shipped. It is the divide by 0s and 1s that screw up the formula as to when they can ship the disk. It is not big brother. My advice is NEVER send it back the same day or even the next day if you use NF. Otherwise you will pay for that mistake.

1912.8.2007 16:40

Personally,I feel that Netflix is the better of the two services. Now that the legal battles are behind them, they can go back to their little pricing war.

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