January 6, 2006 12:28 PM PST

Apple enters legal battle with Burst.com

Apple Computer has asked a federal court to determine that Burst.com's allegations of patent infringement are invalid.

Apple's declaratory relief complaint, filed earlier this week with the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, came after negotiations to license Burst.com's video and audio delivery software broke down, a Burst representative said. The issue centers on technology used in Apple's popular iPod player and iTunes software and service.

According to a copy of Apple's complaint, Burst approached Apple in late 2004 regarding securing a license for the Burst technology. Burst's attorneys then informed Apple that Burst believed Apple was infringing on its patents, according to the complaint.

Despite discussions of Apple licensing Burst.com's technology for the iPod and iTunes, the issue came to a head late last year.

"In late 2005, in at least one written communication, Burst.com's attorneys threatened litigation against Apple," the complaint states. "Apple denies that any of the patents in (the) suit are or have been infringed by Apple and disputes their validity."

Burst.com, in response to Apple's complaint, said it plans to file a countersuit alleging patent infringement related to the iPod and iTunes, as well as to Apple's QuickTime software.

A representative for Apple noted: "Unfortunately, we have been unable to resolve the disagreement with Burst directly, so we are asking the court to decide."

If Burst succeeds in its patent lawsuit against Apple, it would mark its second major victory over a large tech company. Last March, Microsoft and Burst reached a $60 million settlement over allegations that the software giant had used, without permission, Burst's technology to speed delivery of video.

Burst had claimed that Microsoft initially gained access to its technology when the two companies were negotiating a licensing deal, which ultimately collapsed.

14 comments

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Looks like they may have a case
Well, it seems the main patents for this stuff were filed in 98 or earlier, and I believe that this was considerably before this type of thing started being implemented into video on the web. MS recognized this, and I think Apple may have to fess up and pay. I really am not a fan of software patents, but this company does hold the patents, and it is a pretty innovative product.
Posted by jjesusfreak01 (83 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Are you joking?
As far as i can find this patent is about downloading content
faster than actually viewing it so it can be stored on the HD. Like
an MP3 file thats downloading faster than one can listen in
realtime.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2002/10/30/" target="_newWindow">http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2002/10/30/</a>
microsoft_media_two/print.html
Posted by Peter Bonte (316 comments )
Link Flag
Burst.com
Burst.com's (formerly Instant Video Technology) patents
were filed and granted as far back as 1988, QT didn't
appear until 1991.
Posted by pmadden (2 comments )
Link Flag
Patents must have a product
If their idea was only on paper i believe they don't have a case. Don't quote me, but i'm pretty sure you can't patent a theory. In 1998 an iPod video was theory.
Posted by ITrogue (23 comments )
Link Flag
how can they have it over Quicktime?
Quicktime is one of the older Mac software's. If there was
infringement, they are wayyyyy to late in reporting it to win that
part of the battle as for everything else them might have a case.
Posted by (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
there's really no hurry
as long as apple keeps putting out software that infringes the patents, you can sue whenever, in most situations.
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Link Flag
Indeed...
The problem is that pattents have been (and continue to be) awarded based on ideas or technology that has existed for years already. The only way for it to remain valid is if the patent was filed for before the infringing product existed. That is not the case in most of these suites.

It's not so much a matter of a statute of limitations as it is which came first.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Link Flag
Another Loser Trying to Get a Piece of the iPOD
Burst should just look at Apple's track record regarding these types of law suits and realize that free meals don't come easy.
Posted by lrd123 (50 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Patent infringement? Prove it
Ok, here is my view on patents for software. It should only be for the code itself, not how the code works. The key to inovative software is to refine how software works, not create new ideas. Linux shows this perfectly, and nowdays even MS is starting to look at open source.

However, we shall see what the court decides. Remember, this is America, where the more expensive your lawyer is, the better chance you will come out ok in the court.
Posted by tanis143 (122 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This patent is ludicrous
This BURST patent essentially states that the company has invented
the tools to digitize an analog signal, transmit it to another place
digitally in any way, and then play it back.

So many of these software patents are completely full of nonsense,
but this takes the cake. This company has invented nothing.
Posted by Ken Cunningham (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

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