AfterDawn: Tech news

Apple sues

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 11 Jan 2006 13:47 User comments (17)

Apple sues Apple Computer Inc. has launched legal action to have patents held by declared invalid. Burst approached Apple in 2004 in an attempt to agree licenses for the use of its technology. The company's legal team informed Apple that it is infringing its patents, and that it would launch action. Of course, Apple denies that it is infringing the patents. The company sued Burst in the US District Court in San Francisco requesting declaratory relief to determine the patents invalid.
Burst has warned that it will respond to the litigation brought by Apple with a counterclaim for patent infringement shortly. Burst settled its patent and antitrust suit against Microsoft last year, which saw Microsoft taking a licence to Burst's patents and paying $60 million. "Burst remains committed to the enforcement of its intellectual property and looks forward to successfully resolving this litigation through a licence covering Apple’s QuickTime, iPod and iTunes products, including Apple’s iTunes Music Store," the company said.


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17 user comments

111.1.2006 18:34

kick some ass

211.1.2006 19:53

Some of that money they got of microsoft should help the lawsuit. Kill em Burst.

311.1.2006 23:37

Did anyone actually take their time to see just what burst's "patent" includes? I could be wrong, but it sure seesm to me like they effectively patented buffering. And if I'm not wrong, buffering is used in pretty much all parts of the computer. Yet these guys successfully patent it for transferring content over internet as a "new thing" that they should get money for. A parasitic patent if I ever saw one.

412.1.2006 1:14

A parasitic patent if I ever saw one.
Well they got 60 million from microsoft, so why should they stop now? Greedy bastards I say.

512.1.2006 5:15

They're on a roll

612.1.2006 6:42

I believe Lucky_d is right, why is everyone so anti-apple? If you don't like them then don't buy there products, simple as that. Burst will probably lose the lawsuit as Apple has the resources [not that Micorosoft doesn't] to put the case to rest. Apple is a little more in tune I think with what's right and wrong where as Microsoft just wanted to settle to get the problem out of the way. We'll see how it plays out though.

712.1.2006 11:47

I am anti-apple because they are monopoly-thriving corperate nazi's. They release products that are more expensive, less compatible and overall worse then their competetors!!!

812.1.2006 12:17

punx777: so who exactly do yuou support?cos microsoft are that way too u know.they jsut dont seem to have a band wagon, because they're a company that everyone takes for granted, whereas apple has to keep proving itself. or at least trying. i hope apple wins this lawsuit. In an ideal world, apple would be world leaders in the computer market, not microsoft. we'd all have alot less problems on computers then. (yes yes, i know more popularity means more hackers/virus coders etc...but thats jsut lame ass excuses...fact is: appel is a VERY well written software). dan x

912.1.2006 12:56

punx777, If all you said is true, then there are a lot of stupid people with to much money on there hands. Which isn't as true as we all wish it was. And I wouldn't go nearly as far as to say they are a monopoly, they don't operate like one at all. They are certaintly not free of competition and they arn't dropping prices to try and run other companies out of the market. Apple is doing a good job, and doing it in a respectable manner.

1012.1.2006 15:16

this is what the patent states. ( 1 of 1 ) United States Patent 4,963,995 Lang October 16, 1990 Audio/video transceiver apparatus including compression means Abstract An improved video recorder/transmitter with expanded functionality including a capability for editing and/or copying from one video tape to another using only a single tape deck. The increased functionality is realized through the use of analog to digital conversion, signal compression and intermediate storage in an integrated circuit, random access memory. The recorder/transmitter has capabilities to transmit and receive program information in either a compressed or decompressed format over fiber optic lines. and this one.. United States Patent 5,995,705 Lang November 30, 1999 Burst transmission apparatus and method for audio/video information Abstract An improved video recorder/transceiver with expanded functionality ("VCR-ET") including a capability for storing video and video programs in digital format, editing such programs, transferring such programs onto a hard copy magnetic media, and transmitting such programs to a remote location using a second VCR-ET. The increased functionality is realized through the use of analog to digital conversion, signal compression and intermediate storage in an integrated circuit, random access memory. The recorder/transmitter has capabilities to transmit and receive program information in either a compressed or decompressed format over fiber optic lines, conventional phone lines or microwaves.

1112.1.2006 16:10

That basically means they patented buffering technology which almost everything related to a computer uses. Hopefully Apple will win and I think they will. They have a very valid argument, just needs to be explained properly.

1213.1.2006 19:24

Oh, so if a patent is for something obvious that everyone uses, then it's not valid? The whole idea for a patent is to reward those who conceive of and ClAIM innovative technology. If they were first to the patent office,then that's the game folks! Mr. Bell (Alexander Graham) and Mr. Gates (duh!) were financially rewarded for exactly the same activity, why should Burst be excluded? It has to be noted that "Abstract" is just that, a vague summation of an elaborate idea or entity. I think few among us have the ability to analyze the technical details attached to such patents, that's what the patent office is supposed to do before awarding a patent, so maybe they weren't on their toes and THEY should be sued (and i don't believe they can be and good luck to anyone who tries it!). A patent is substantially different to a copyright. Anyone can copyright anything (send a photocopy or transcription to the copyright office and pay a small fee, voila!) and it will stand until challenged. A patent has to be reviewed and AWARDED, making it unlikely that an invalid idea could be awarded a patent in the first place.

1314.1.2006 3:11

So tednor, you thus believe that assembly line car manufacturing shou;d have been only allowed to be practiced by Henry Ford?

1414.1.2006 6:57

A patent must not be for something that is "Obvious". Thus, I should not be (or have been) granted a patant for a device that stores films on removable flash drives when the largest flash drive was 16Mbytes, because it is an obvious use of such technology. Otherwise anyone could just have a little think about what will be possible as technology expands or speeds up current devices and just sit back and wait, and the world would have to pay them royalties. The Burst patent is a little different in that it specified a new and somewhat complicated type of buffering that was applicable to VCR's back in the 1990's. What has happened is that since then, the expansion of storage capability and the move from the analogue to the digital domain has made buffering 'obvious'. It seems clear that microsoft's lawyers though the case not worth fighting. If the were confident that Burst did not have a leg to stand on, they would undoubtably have shown them the door. How far apple will get is another matter.

1514.1.2006 11:44

I'm very anti-Apple as far as the ipod goes. What a scam. Never has so little been sold for so much to the gullible consumer. I certainly agree with previous statements about their products being expensive and too restrictive. If I purchase music, I should be able to burn my songs to cd and play them on my car's MP3 stereo or dub the songs over as background music to a home video or a wedding video that I'm creating. I've been quite pleased with Yahoo Music Engine. As a subscriber, I've got access to nearly every song I'm interested in, and I can buy the ones I want for $0.79 (U.S). Even without buying them, the subscription allows me to download as many songs as I want onto as many as three different computers. Then I can play them without being connected to the internet. Yahoo's system is not perfect, however, and there are some restictions to using the music you that purchase. But my understanding is that you get five burns for each song you purchase. Yahoos user interface and their help system kind of sucks though. The service is relatively new, but it's the best and most affordable system I've seen. There's even a free radio service available for those that don't want to subscribe, and that's also pretty cool. It gives you more control (not complete control) over the music you hear than other internet radios and it's completely commercial free. I'll never own an ipod, but I'd sure like to hear if someone knows of a better music service. I foresee Yahoo's music service or others like it, changing the music industry for the better. And when they do, that should kill the overpriced music from Apple. As far as the lawsuit goes, I hope Apple fights and wins if the lawsuit is frivolous. I hate it when corporations settle simply because that's often the most convenient way to get rid of the problem. Remember Apple and Microsoft sued each other over the window-type user interface. Apple lost because they had actually taken the idea from Xerox. But Xerox's big wigs never had the foresight to develop the PC or to patent the window system. If Burst has a legitimate patent that is being infringed on, then good for them. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, hopefully in the courts.

1614.1.2006 18:36

You people seem to be missing the point that there are SPECIFIC TECHNICAL details involved or else the patent would not be reviewed and awarded but rejected for exactly all the reasons claimed here. The "abstract" quotes were just that, abstractions of technical documents that list specific (and i mean very specific) details about this technology. You must provide EXACT specifications to get a patent, hence the ubiquitous "US Patents pending" followed by about 100 numbers for the same seemingly simple idea. An applicant usually has to rethink every conceivable approach to the idea in order to protect the patent in the award phase. That is why i made such a point of differentiating between copyright and patent, as copyright is easy to obtain( and easier to strike down with proof of first origination). I have no idea what the mind-numbing details were in this case, but trust me it was no "vague" idea like storing on flash drive or assembly line production, but a very specific approach that was studied and PRACTISED in all protected forms by the awarding bodies of the patent office. Can someone please find and post this headache inducing documentation so you guys can see what i mean (it's probably WAY to big to put up on this site, let alone this particular thread!!) And again i must reiterate, so WHAT if the idea is obvious and becomes enormously popular?? That's the whole damned idea of a patent, to further technology into the everyday usage of society and award those who introduce it. You people seem to think that those who make the most popular ideas should be penalized: why is that??

1714.1.2006 18:53

Regarding iTunes,Yahoo, and whatever form Gates-ditties will take on when introduced: regardless of the fact that it seems good to have Yahoo and Micro$haft enter the arena, there are far too FEW players in the conceivable future. This is where we can really blame the big 5 (now big 3, soon big two, who knows..) record labels for going after downloaders instead of getting on the bandwagon. the good news is that after years of gauging us and screwing the artist while making some of the best returns since cigarette manufacturing was introduced, now THEY are being held captive by whatever chunk iTunes wants to take. Note the recent addition of the entire Madonna catalogue in time to market her new album: all parties are chomping down and digging in on their turf until it's just perfect to give in. Are the Beatles on iTunes yet? Some catalogues will not be there until just the right moment. If there is not yet, there WILL BE an Apple music publishing arm to reap profits from struggling artists: watch and learn while the big boys slug it out!

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