Another day, another patent dispute. This time Apple is defending the use of its HTTP live-streaming service against Emblaze, Ltd., Bloomberg reports.

Specifically, the lawyer for Emblaze has accused Apple of pushing its video streaming technology on sports-related services like WatchESPN and MLB At Bat which support live streaming over apps for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and more.

Apple began working on its HTTP live-streaming service, or HLS, “no earlier than 2007,” demanding that services such as “At Bat” use the format to drive sales of iPhones and iPads — and inducing infringement of Emblaze’s patent, Pavane said.

“Apple’s HLS is nothing more than Emblaze’s patented solution under a different name,” he said.

The company says its 2002 patent is being violated by Apple’s HLS technology and that Apple developed its technology years after Emblaze’s patent was filed.

In response to the Emblaze’s accusations, Apple’s lawyer made the case that Apple was being targeted due to its success and that Emblaze is simply “trying to make up for that lack of success in the courtroom,” adding that he intends to prove that none of the services using Apple’s technology violate Emblaze’s patent.

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7 Responses to “Apple defending its streaming technology used by MLB, ESPN, and others against patent dispute”

  1. cmonmun says:

    This is… odd.

    As a ex-shareholder of Emblaze ( they used to be GEO – a darling of the dotcom boom in the UK stock market. Share price hit around £17 – now £0.5 or something! ) this all seems very familiar.

    The patent in questions is, in fact, quite similar to Apple’s HLS streaming model in as much as the ‘streaming’ is simply using HTTP to download a playlist of video chunks. IANAL so I’ve no idea if it infringes or not, and frankly sort of past caring.

    A few seconds Googling brings up this : http://www.engadget.com/2010/02/11/emblaze-goes-flame-on-sues-microsoft-and-apple-for-patent-infri/

  2. Bullshit – like every patent dispute. Unless you have access to the “offender’s” source code, you can go a pound rocks, you don’t know squat about the technology. Analyzing network packets (as some may suggest) isn’t going to prove much either since it’s not going to provide all the necessary information to glean how the mechanics of the encoder and decoders actually do their job. The subject of patents are a high-school level game at their root, yet the lawyers try to play them up as procedural rocket science. Don’t confuse the patent game with the subject of a particular patent. There are clear rules that determine what governs a patent and these clear and simple rules really make such accusations patently (no pun intended) ludicrous.

    The only, and reasonable, solution is not a convoluted process of reform, but simply to restrict patents to what they were intentionally designed to protect. Not ideas, but actual implementations. You know, real inventions. Novel solutions – novel even to those skilled in the art. The result is that software, and by extension embedded software and firmware, must be excluded from patent eligibility – they are already duly and severely protected by copyright.

    There’s no such thing as a good software patent.

    • Cognomen says:

      This is too much like common sense and should be copied to every reply section that mentions patents!

      Bruno, may I recommend leaving the county rapidly and find a nice quiet place to sit and enjoy the sun while your erudite reply is, of course, vehemently attacked from all angles!

    • Zaph says:

      Actually it is “Pound Sand”.

    • I have a patent that describes a method for distributing dots on a printed plate that produces higher visual resolution images than what was already available at the time (think 2000-2003). So now I have a method for producing printed images with higher fidelity and less variation than the competing method. Oh by the way, printing plates are made using digital plate setters that are controlled by a computer. So should I get a patent that covers the printed images (i.e. magazine, newspaper, etc) because the printed images produce an illusion of having continuous tone, like a silver halide photograph, or should I get a patent for the general algorithm for deciding how the dots should deb distributed when given a digital photograph or should I get a patent on the lines of code in the software that controls the plate setter?

  3. Apple has been open and public (and open-source) about HLS — HTTP Live Streaming — since the start.

    Where was Emblaze right then and there? The original QuickTime streaming server is nothing more than an implementation of HLS made available to everyone.

  4. cmonmun says:

    Going to try posting this as my first comment has been moderated – due to a link I guess…

    This is… odd.

    I used to follow this company carefully – as a ex-shareholder of Emblaze ( they used to be GEO – a darling of the dotcom boom in the UK stock market. Share price hit around £17 – now £0.5 or something! ) this all seems very familiar.

    The patent in questions is, in fact, quite similar to Apple’s HLS streaming model in as much as the ‘streaming’ is simply using HTTP to download a playlist of video chunks. IANAL so I’ve no idea if it infringes or not, and frankly sort of past caring.

    If you hit google you’ll see seeming exact same court case happened about 4 years ago.