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Roxio first target as CD-R patent owner threatens industry

Optima claims ownership of key burning technique

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CD burning software developer Optima Technology has sued rival Roxio and threatened any other company that allows users to record information onto a CD-R.

Optima's claim centres on a patent the company filed by the company in 1995 and granted two years later. The patent, number 5,666,531, details a "recordable CD-ROM accessing system".

Essentially, it describes the technique used by many CD burning apps and utilities of creating an image of the disc in memory or on the hard drive which appears to the user as a CD. The virtual CD's contents can be updated at will, until the user is ready to burn the contents onto the disc, at which point the information can no longer be changed.

Software released by Optima in 1995 utilised this technique, which it says ended the need to pre-plan how and where to burn data directly to the CD.

We're sure prior art must exist in this case. Back in the 1993 we were burning CDs by copying data to a separate hard drive partition, manipulating it there, and only when we were satisfied everything was present and correct did we burn the CD, using Toast, then owned by Adaptec, which later spun off its CD software division as Roxio.

Whatever. Optima believes it owns the technique and wants Roxio to cough up damages, unpaid royalties and lawyers fees, Reuters reports. Optima offered to license its intellectual property to Roxio, but its rival refused.

And not just Roxio. "Optima believes most every company in the CD burner industry may be infringing," the company's attorney, Robert Lyon, a partner at Holland & Knight, told the news agency.

Optima claims that the patent is infringed by now standard ways of burning CDs as laid down by the CD-R and CD-RW technology guarding, the Optical Storage Technology Association (OSTA). Roxio is an OSTA member, as is Sony, HP, Imation, Microsoft, Pioneer, Ricoh, Toshiba and Verbatim. Associate members include Apple, Eastman Kodak, Epson, Fujitsu, Iomega, JVC, Plasmon and many more of the CD-R industry's leading lights. ®

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