Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Apple, Sony Sued Over iTunes, Playstation Network Systems

Inventor Benjamin Grobler alongside intellectual property attorneys from the office of The Lanier Law Firm have filed lawsuits against Apple and Sony alleging infringement of Grobler's patents relating to the way systems such as the iTunes and Playstation Network work.

The lawsuits filed on March 27, 2012, alleges that Apple and Sony are infringing U.S. Patent No. 6,799,084 which describes a system in which digital data is distributed to an electronic devices called a "data depot" for storage and management. The IP also calls for a remote database that maintains ownership and user records. According to the lawsuit, Apple and Sony have infringed the patent by making and offering infringing data vending systems such as iTunes and the Playstation Network, and that the companies are inducing their customers' infringement by using these systems.

According to the patent date it was filed on January 31, 2001, three weeks after Apple first launched iTunes and ten months before the introduction of the iPod.

The cases are Benjamin Grobler v. Apple Inc., No. CV-12-1534, and Benjamin Grobler v. Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC, No. CV-12-1526. Both are pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Full detail of the filling can be found here.

This geek's opinion:

The details of this post were in part grabbed from this press release which was put out by The Lanier Law Firm. Sorry to say it but when you read the full release it looks like nothing more than blatant advertisement for their firm. While the case might have merits (I'm not sure it does) I'm thinking this is nothing more than another patent troll trying to use the broken patent system for personal gain and a law firm jumping on the band wagon to garner some attention.

Now all that said, I have to ask: What is it with Apple and a their lack of patents in some areas and over usage of patents in others? This report came out a bit on the late side so I haven't seen a response from Apple. Nor have I seen any other reports discussing Apple possibly having prior patents to these types of systems. But I have to wonder.

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