Every company doing anything interesting in the tech sector these days gets sued for patent infringement-it’s practically a rite of passage. For proof, look no further than the lawsuit filed yesterday against Spotify by PacketVideo, just a few weeks after the Spotify’s celebrated U.S. launch.
Mike Masnick at Techdirt has some details on the history of PacketVideo, as well as a copy of the complaint. PacketVideo was considered a hot startup back in 2001, when it was working on streaming video to mobile phones. Last year, a Japanese mobile carrier announced plans to acquire PacketVideo.
The generic-sounding “invention” in this patent appears to be cover basic parts of sending “digitized music information” over a communications network. It was originally issued to a Swiss inventor, and was acquired by PacketVideo when it acquired Swiss firm SDC AG in 2007, according to PacketVideo’s press release.
PacketVideo also has a corresponding European patent and says that it has filed suit in the Netherlands as well. But there’s no doubt this patent attack is connected to Spotify’s U.S. launch. It’s much easier to pressure companies to settle in the U.S., because the cost of patent litigation is so high. In large part, that’s why the so-called “patent troll” business model has flourished stateside but not abroad.
A spokeswoman for PacketVideo didn’t say much beyond what’s in the press release, but did say it didn’t make the decision lightly, adding: “We never wanted to take this to court-these lawsuits come after months of trying to amicably resolve our differences with Spotify.” So, they would have preferred to have just been paid by Spotify without filing… not surprising.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in San Diego, where PacketVideo is based.