walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

patent infringement suit stinks to high heaven

Basically, Discovery envisioned broadcasting texts over their video signal, but included "any other" to broaden the patent. That kind of stunt works sometimes, but lawyer seem to be able to string that kind of thing along for months if not years. "The text data may also be transmitted over other low and high speed signal paths including a telephone network (e.g. a public switched telephone network) having a high speed connection such as an asynchronous digital subscriber line (ADSL) connection and the Internet, for example." They were _not_ envisioning a cellular connection. Period.

They also envisioned a "home" system interaction with an operations center, which is a lot_ closer to the Sony model than to the Amazon model. The home system connects, selects, stores and transacts, but when it does so, the patent lapses back into the video model. "In one embodiment, the connector portion of the home subsystem receives an analog video signal and strips or extracts the text from the video." The viewer might be the same as the home system (to the extent this matches the Amazon model, this would be it), but what to make of this:

"A high resolution LCD display is used to both read the books and to interact with the home library software." Throughout the patent, "may" and "in one embodiment" allow the patent to cover similar situations not envisioned when the patent request was created. But that particular sentence is not so protected. I'm no lawyer -- but I bet a real lawyer could have a bit of fun with that. The bookmark setup envisioned really sucks, too, and there's a strong limitation to a single current book, which thank goddess Amazon didn't succumb to, knowing that the real market for such a device has a nasty habit of reading n books at a time.

Some of the coverage indicates that Discovery is focusing on the copy protection scheme(s) in the patent/used by Amazon, rather than the entire devices function, thus making many of my points irrelevant. But I still think it's weird not to go after Sony.

ETA: I've got legal firm names! From


Morrison & Foerster are international and have a big IP shop. Their clients as a firm include Apple. Their clients _also_, it is worth noting, include Sprint, and Sony Music.

Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor is a Delaware firm (suit brought in Delaware). They have trial lawyers specializing in IP.

Discovery is definitely taking this quite seriously, and Amazon is right to keep mum until they have a plan and legal assistance of quite high caliber lined up. But I still think the patent is for crap (of course, I think this about a lot of patents and I am not qualified to have an opinion) and the suit is angling for a settlement (and _that's_ easy to say, because that's pretty much how this stuff turns out). I'm feeling crankily reminded of the NTP crap surrounding RIM and others.
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