Apple Sued For Allegedly Infringing Media Playback Patent That It Half-Heartedly Tried To License

Apple Sued For Allegedly Infringing Media Playback Patent That It Half-Heartedly Tried To License

Apple finds itself involved in yet another patent lawsuit.

Apple has been named in a California lawsuit filed by EPL Holdings for allegedly infringing a patent that covers audio and video playback at varying speeds. The filing reports that EPL met with Apple back 2002 to discuss  licensing over the patents it had developed. But the Cupertino company is alleged to have used the technology anyway without reaching a licensing deal.

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, and discovered by The Next Web, the suit involves a technology that EPL and its predecessor Enounce Inc. had developed and patented.

Apple actually met with Enounce back in February 2002 to discuss the technology, with interest in licensing the patent numbered 5,175,769.

The suit explains that Aram Lindahl, the senior manager of Apple’s iPod devision, offered Enounce $50,000 to license the patent. But the company’s founder Donald J. Hejna and his colleagues declined, believing the fee “fell woefully short of the value of their technology.”

Rather than making a new offer, it is claimed that Apple began “extensively using Enounce’s patented technologies” anyway — without attempting to reach a licensing deal with the company. Enounce claims the technologies are used in the iPhone and the iPad, and other Apple devices, which rake in “billions of dollars in U.S. sales annually.”

“Apple took these actions with blatant knowledge and disregard for the legal rights of Enounce,” the filing states.

Within the suit, EPL highlights a piece of marketing material Apple used to advertise QuickTime, which reads: “Want to speed through a movie or slow things down? A handy slider lets you set playback from 1/2x to 3x the normal speed.”

EPL is now seeking an injunction on the use of its technologies, and is demanding Apple pays damages, costs, and expenses related to the lawsuit. The case notes that “Mr Hejna and his company have suffered and continue to suffer due to the inability to realize the full and and fair value of the patented inventions,” while Apple has enjoyed billions of dollars of sales.

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  • bowlingGreen

    Apple. It sues for everything.

  • Bulldogger123

    Apple is being sued in this case!

  • hanhothi

    More patents for things that are obvious and natural. Come on, changing the playback speed of videos and movies has been around as long as they have. Theses US patents are crazy!

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a freelance writer based in the UK. He has an interest in all things tech, but most enjoys covering Apple, anything mobile, and gaming. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell, or through his website.

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