Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/05/11/patent_harbor_sues_dvd_makers/

IP firm claims ownership of DVD video-menus

All your clickable vids belong to us

By Tony Smith

Posted in Media, 11th May 2011 09:55 GMT

A Texas-based intellectual property holder is suing a host of major home entertainment companies - think all the big names - for daring to sell DVDs with clickable videos in their menus.

Patent Harbor LLC maintains that owns a patent that covers such user interface features, and that the many named content companies alleged infringement "damaged" it, for which it wants an unspecified sum of money to be paid in compensation.

The patent in question, US 5,684,514, is titled "Apparatus and method for assembling content addressable video", through a read of the abstract reveals the patent isn't specifically about DVDs.

Instead it simply covers ways a video sequence can be tagged so that, when clicked on, the user will be presented with other video frames.

In short, it's a clickable image map with a moving image.

Such a concept has been part of DVDs for more than decade, and is now a key part of Blu-ray Disc menus too.

The patent was filed with the US Patents and Trademarks Office in May 1994 and granted three years later, in November 1997.

Why the delay in applying its concepts to optical discs? The patent doesn't mention Patent Harbor, suggesting the company has only come into possession of the IP recently - well, since late 2010, when it first embarked on legal action against DVD and BD producers. ®