The first piece of patent infringement news today isn't about Oracle or Google for once. This time it concerns Spotify.
The digital music service has only been available in the United States for a couple of weeks, and it has already been slapped with a lawsuit courtesy of PacketVideo.
If you're not familiar with PacketVideo, it's a company dedicated to developing platforms for the deployment of wireless multimedia. TechDirt adds that it was also a startup that was "considered one of the hottest startups on the planet for trying to figure out ways to do streaming video on mobile phones" roughly 10 years ago.
Times have certainly changed since then, and perhaps PacketVideo is feeling a little jealous of the success Spotify has had so far without really even trying.
Nevertheless, here's part of the patent in question, which was filed way back when in 1995:
...a central memory device which is connected to a communications network and has a databank of digitized music information and, a terminal which is connected to the central memory device via the communications network, the central memory device being equipped with a retrieval module and the said modules having the capability to interact via the communications network in order to order and transmit selectively chosen music information, wherein the selectively chosen music information is organized with a defined format for transmission in a digital music information object, the format including a core and a number of additional layers, the core including at least one object identification code, object structure information, a consumer code and an encryption table and the one or more additional layers including the actual music information, wherein the central memory device has an encryption module for encryption of the music information object before transmission using the encryption table, and wherein the terminal has a decryption module for decryption of the music information object before its reproduction using the encryption table, an interpretation module for interpretation and reproduction conditioning of the music information object as well as an authorization device having identification information for identification of the terminal and of the consumer which is retrievable by the interpretation module and by the decryption module for authorization checking.
While it does sound familiar, PacketVideo did not file this patent originally. However, just like the Oracle/Google debacle, PacketVideo bought this patent a few years ago. Thus, it's on between Spotify and PacketVideo.
Although one might ask, don't some other music streaming sites that have mobile apps also fall into this category?
Anyway, for a full look at the legal papers, check out the document below:
- Spotify signs up 70,000 U.S. paid subscribers in first week
- Spotify: Is it worth all of the fuss?
- Spotify launches in USA, but is it the best music service for mobile needs?
- Spotify finally launches in US: Enough to quell the masses from piracy?
- Why Spotify is music to my ears