March 11, 2005 5:02 PM PST

Burst, Microsoft agree to settle suit

Software company Burst.com has agreed to a tentative $60 million settlement with Microsoft over charges that the giant had stolen its streaming media technology.

The lawsuit has been one of the most contentious of Microsoft's litigations, with Burst claiming that the software giant deliberately deleted e-mails relevant to the case. Microsoft has denied those accusations.

Burst said late Thursday that the two companies have reached an agreement "in principle" and expect to have a more formal settlement completed next week. The agreement resulted in the cancellation of a court hearing scheduled for that day.

The companies added a dollar amount to the settlement late Friday, and Microsoft said it has licensed the Burst technology.

"We spent over a decade developing and patenting the technology in anticipation of the markets that are now emerging," Burst Chief Executive Officer Richard Lang said in a statement. "With this action behind us, the company can now focus on its other opportunities."

The small company sued Microsoft in mid-2002, charging that the software giant had taken its patented technology for speedy online delivery of video without permission. Burst said Microsoft had gained access to its technology when the two companies were negotiating a business deal, which fell through.

Microsoft has settled most of the major lawsuits facing it over the past several years, including major cases against Novell, Sun Microsystems and AOL Time Warner. An antitrust case filed by RealNetworks remains outstanding.

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Software patents at their best...
So, here we see why MS has been fighting so hard in the EU to get software patents laws passed. Large companies like MS can afford the court cases. That's it in a nutshell. If you want to protect your IP from MS then you'll have to have enough in the bank for a three year court battle against a company with billions at its disposal. After three years you will be willing to settle for less than what you originally asked for because you don't have the cash to keep fighting. The end result is that MS settles the case with a huge discount on the IP they stole to begin with.

After all, if they were truly fighting for the rights of all or for IP, then they would keep their greedy hands to themselves and stop stealing other's IP.
Posted by sunergeos (111 comments )
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And you think this is the start?
Apple is probably next on the list, followed by Real.
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
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Insider comment on Burst
I worked at Burst and know the patents and the technology very well. I really dislike Microsoft in general.
However - this settlement is a joke.
The sad truth is, Burst doesn't really have this amazing technology at all. Burst's technology and patent - faster than realtime streaming - doesn't really fullfill important requirements to file a patent. A new invention applying for a patent has to be I) not obvious for somebody in the field and II) be a novelty (similar stuff has not been published before). I know Burst's patents really well, they should be dismissed on both grounds.
Bursts patents are really a joke.
For some strategical reason Microsoft decided to settle - who know for what reason.
Mr. Lang - the founder of Burst - sits now on a huge chunk of money. He got the cash because he was smart in sueing, it had nothing to do with technology.
I really don't like the way Microsoft acts and does Business, I really dislike their products.
But seeing Burst/Mr. Lang getting lucky with Microsoft, that really makes me angry (if you how Mr. Lang ran his business during glory days).
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