First it was Acacia, would RNWK follow the litigation route? Unlikely that it will be heavy handed, but anyway: RealNetworks has received a patent on a way to stream multimedia content online, and the company believes the patent would give it leverage as companies rapidly expand their efforts to turn the Internet into a broadcast medium. RealNetworks said the technology was distinguished from other similar systems by the fact that it permitted “intelligent” streaming of data in potentially congested networks.
Glaser told NYT that the patent was related to an invention that the company first sought protection for in 1994…he called it a “foundation” patent, giving RealNetworks a strong position that it would seek to use to help it sell its Helix media server product, which streams video and audio in several formats. The company, which now has 35 patents in the interactive multimedia field, went back and forth with the patent office for five years before it filed the 1999 patent in its current form.
More details in the company release here:The “Click-to-Stream” patent covers the core methods used when an end user selects a digital media asset (audio and accompanying video or other metadata) to be played, causing digital packets of the selected digital media to be transmitted over an Internet Protocol network and received by the end user’s playback device when playback begins prior to delivery of the entire digital media asset to the consumer’s device.