Feeds

Blockbuster escalates row over online rental patent

If you sue me, I'll sue you

High performance access to file storage

Netflix used deceptive practices to obtain patents and monopolise the online rental business, Blockbuster claimed this week. Netflix is suing Blockbuster for alleged infringement of its business method patent.

Blockbuster, which says the Netflix patents are unenforceable, filed anti-trust counterclaims in a federal court in San Francisco.

"There is nothing original about renting movies or subscription rental programs," said Marshall Grossman, of Alschuler Grossman, Stein & Kahan, the firm representing Blockbuster in the litigation. "Both were widely practiced long before any purported invention by Netflix."

Grossman said Netflix claiming exclusive rights over subscription movie rentals "is like a fast-food restaurant trying to patent selling hamburgers through a drive-through window".

"As for Netflix's so-called 'dynamic' queue, we are convinced it is not legally patentable," he added. "We think it is obvious that if you are going to provide subscription rentals over the internet, you have to let your customers list the items they want to receive and enable them to periodically update their lists."

The claims filed by Blockbuster against Netflix also allege that Netflix failed to inform the Patent Office of previous patents and previous business methods of other companies, despite the legal duty to make these disclosures.

According to Blockbuster, Netflix has admitted that it was aware of the prior patents of another company, which had already put Netflix on notice about possible patent infringement. Blockbuster says Netflix failed to disclose those prior patents to the Patent Office.

"The court has the final say on whether a patent is valid and whether a company was honest in pursuing its patent," Grossman said. "We state in our counterclaims that Netflix's conduct at the Patent Office was deliberately deceptive and that Netflix's goal all along has been to ultimately monopolise the online rental business."

Blockbuster also points out that Netflix appears to have singled out Blockbuster and no other online service for litigation, waited nearly three years after receiving its first patent and 19 months since the launch of Blockbuster Online before filing the action.

"We believe consumers are best served when companies compete in the marketplace instead of in the courtroom," Blockbuster chairman and CEO John Antioco said. "However, since Netflix has filed what we believe is a needless lawsuit, we will aggressively defend ourselves and vigorously pursue our counterclaims."

See also: Netflix sues Blockbuster over business method patents, OUT-LAW News, 05/04/2006

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.