Technology that powers Olympics on Web at center of lawsuit

updated: Could your online video experience with the Summer Olympics games be in jeopardy?Silverlight, Microsoft's rival to Adobe's Flash for Video and the technology powering the online video coverage of the games, is the subject of a lawsuit filed by Gotuit Media, a suburban Boston company that is claiming that Microsoft infringed on several patents that allow video clips to be searched.

updated: Could your online video experience with the Summer Olympics games be in jeopardy?

Silverlight, Microsoft's rival to Adobe's Flash for Video and the technology powering the online video coverage of the games, is the subject of a lawsuit filed by Gotuit Media, a suburban Boston company that is claiming that Microsoft infringed on several patents that allow video clips to be searched. It is seeking an injunction, as well as damages. The suit was filed July 2 in San Francisco Federal Court, a little more than a month before athletes from around the world converge on Beijing for the games. The games begin on Aug. 8.

Gotuit provides technology that allows video providers to enhance their clips with e-commerce, sharing and search tools. Companies that use the technology include Sports Illustrated, the National Hockey League and Sprint. According to Computerworld, Gotuit claims in court filings that Silverlight infringes on its patents because it too gives users a way to enhance video with "metadata tags in order to enable video search and navigation and provide a personalized viewing experience."

NBC is expected to make more than 2,200 hours of Olympics coverage available online, as well as live blogging, daily recaps and analysis. The increased coverage is a huge leap from the online offerings in previous games. In 2004, there were some video highlights available and in 2000, the online coverage was pretty much limited to still pictures and schedules of television coverage. Forecasters expect NBC to break a new overall ad sales record for the games - including online - at more than $1 billion. Already, about 85 percent of the TV ad spots have been sold.

Microsoft, which said it had not yet seen the suit, declined comment to CNET. The attorney representing Gotuit also declined comment.

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