As The New York Times noted earlier this week, defunct video-on-demand company Intertainer filed a lawsuit asserting that Apple, Google and Napster are infringing on a 2005 patent that covers the commercial distribution of audio and video over the Internet.Based on that information I decided to look at that patent and see if there might be infringement.
Based on that information I decided to look at that patent and see if there might be infringement.
I'm not a patent attorney, but my first read of this patent doesn't automatically think we are looking at a Patent troll. In fact, the details in this patent conceivably could merit further discussion. Perhaps further legal discussion.
As pictured above, United States Patent No. 6,925,469 specifies:
...an open business platform that provides an end-to-end solution for managing, distributing, and/or retailing digital media assets from various content suppliers. In one or more embodiments, the present invention provides an integrated system that permits media content suppliers to deposit their media assets with the system where they are prepared by a content management system for distribution to consumers via a secure distribution system. The media content suppliers may then track and control the use of their media assets through a subscriber management system for managing consumer accounts, a licensing server for issuing licenses restricting the use of media content, and a royalty reporter for determining and reporting royalties to the various content suppliers.
I admit that sounds quite generic and arguably unpatentable. But as they say, the devil is in the details. For that, we have to see what is being described.
So let us do just that. Note: although the following illustrations are taken from the Patent Application, they are the same as those in the granted Patent.
Figure 1 is a walkthrough of the steps being claimed in this invention.
Figure 2, according to the application, shows how a consumer would "order media content."
Figure 3 shows "a preferred advertising method" that would be used with the procedures shown in Figure 2.
Figure 4 depicts content recommendations methodologies for consumers.
Figure 5 shows how royalties might be reported on sales of such digital downloads.
Finally, Figure 6 shows a way that amount due from a consumer could be posted.
Let me emphasize: I haven't brought you this level of detail to legitimize or advocate for this claim. I simply wanted to illustrate what is involved with this claim, and what the specific points are that Google, Yahoo!, Napster and other parties might be compelled to answer.