Spotify sued for patent infringement in US and the Netherlands

Just two weeks after it launched here in the US, music service Spotify finds itself the target of a patent fight. San Diego-based PacketVideo sued the company in both the US and Netherlands on Thursday, claiming it could not come to an agreement over licensing of its technologies.

"PacketVideo has a strong intellectual property portfolio, and will take any necessary action needed to protect its intellectual property and prevent the misuse of its patents," the company's general counsel Joel Espelien said in a statement.

In each country, one patent is in question. The technologies covered deal with the distribution of digital music, likely indicating that some portion of Spotify's cloud-based music delivery system runs afoul of PacketVideo's patent.

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The company is seeking an injunction to prevent the use of its technologies, as well as damages. In its defense, Spotify said it would "strongly contest" PacketVideo's claims. It argues that the company is claiming that the Internet distribution method that Spotify uses is what's at issue, and if so, many other music services would also be at threat of action.

PacketVideo may sound familiar to some people, and that is because at one point it was considered a promising startup about a decade ago for its work on video on mobile phones. However, the company was never able to live up to expectations and was later acquired by DoCoMo.
Floor 64 founder Mike Masnick opined that PacketVideo's patent in question seems overly broad, and may have not been unique -- a common defense against patent claims like this. In addition, PacketVideo acquired the rights to this patent through an acquisition.

"Once again, we see patents being used as a tool to shakedown companies who were actually innovative in how they executed, with a ridiculously broad patent that contributed zippo to the actual state of the art," he mused.

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