Apple pays $10m to end iTunes patent clash
Burst.com suite settled
Apple has agreed to pay Burst.com $10m to settle the patent infringement challenge the smaller US company launched against it in April 2006.
Back then, Burst.com claimed Apple's iTunes Music Store, QuickTime streaming software and the iPod all incorporate without permission technology detailed in four patents held by Burst.com: 4,963,995; 5,995,705; 5,057,932 and 5,164,839. The IP covers the transmission of compressed audio and video files over the net.
Apple was clearly aware of the patents: earlier in 2006, before Burst.com's lawsuit, Apple asked the US court to declare Burst.com's patents to be invalid and Apple's products not to infringe them.
The Apple case followed Burst.com's win against Microsoft on similar grounds. It sued the software giant in June 2002. By 2005, however, the two companies had reached an out-of-court settlement that saw Microsoft pay Burst.com $60m for the right to use the latter's technology.
Apple's got off lightly then, paying a sixth of what MS did - less if you take the past two year's inflation into account - for essentially the same rights: to use Burst.com's current technology portfolio with the exception of some digital video recorder IP and other patents that are pending. However, Burst.com promised not to sue Apple in relation to these exceptions and it will pick up both parties' costs.
Re: USD 10 Million
If it cost $10M and, as clearly stated, Burst.com are agreeing to pay Apple's legal bills then I'd say someone got stiffed. I suppose it could be Apple agreeing to pay their legal fees and then we all go home happy. Or it didn't cost that much.
USD 10 million
Would be barely enough to cover Apple's legal costs if the case went to trial. They must have decided to pay off the troll to just go away - the same result as if they'd won the trial but without the added headache.
The US patent system has become just a legalised instrument of racket and blackmail.
It is despicable that US law permits patents which are simply an application of computers to a well-known principle i.e.
Faster than playback time download - high speed compressed text transmission (used during 39-45 war).
Compressed file reader - any mechanised decoder such as paper tape reader (text transmission is much more compressed than voice).
Compressed information download (to reduce bandwidth) - any number of compression schemes dating from Roman times.
The fact that these have now been applied to video is somewhat obvious. I guess the next patent will be the same principle applied to maps, surround sound, 3d viewers, virtual worlds etc etc. The application of a technique can cover quite a wide range of applications. Some innovation!
@anonymous coward 2
Who are you referring to?
There are no names in the article other than the author's. Not even your own.
Bit of a a wasted post in my view.
..can "the transmission of compressed audio and video files over the net" be given a patent??
I'm going to patent 'A human interface device that makes use of your hand an index finger'
That's right... watch out all of you that are currently reading this page with a mouse in your hand.