January 10, 2005
../ SightSound Patent Threatens Napster
SightSound Technologies filed a preliminary injunction motion on January 10, 2005 against
Napster to shut down its download business due to
patent infringement. Chief U.S. District Judge Donetta Ambrose, of the U.S. District Court for the Western
District of Pennsylvania, has scheduled a March 3, 2005 hearing on the preliminary injunction in the wake of a patent infringement lawsuit originally filed October 8, 2004.
SightSound Technologies owns several vaguely worded patents for the electronic sale of digital
audio and video.
According to SightSound President and CEO Scott Sander, the companies were on the verge of finalizing an audio license
in good faith when, "at the eleventh hour," Napster demanded the free inclusion of a video license, despite the fact that it does not currently sell video downloads. Probably because
they felt that they were being extorted by SightSound and were hoping to be given something in return.
Napster, whose name had been synonymous with the most well-known violation of intellectual property rights,
will now seek recourse from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office,
requesting a reexamination of SightSound's patents.
In 1988, SightSound Technologies Founder Arthur R. Hair invented a method and system for the electronic sale of
digital audio and video recordings. In 1993 he received the first of many patents for the technology.
This is not the first case that SightSound has taken to the courts. In February 2004,
SightSound settled a six-year-old patent infringement case against N2K and CDnow,
subsidiaries of Bertelsmann AG, that recognized the three patents at issue in the trial as valid and enforceable. SightSound Technologies also owns Arthur Hair's patent
applications filed in the field of trusted and decentralized peer-to-peer networks.
The Future: At the end of their negotiations, Napster obviously found SightSound's licensing demands to
be a jagged little pill. Although, Napster faces an uphill battle against SightSound, they'll probably feel
better in the end if they fought the good fight.
>>> Digihear? January 2005
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