Apple TV Hit With Patent Infringement Lawsuit

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Apple is being sued for patent infringement after a company alleges Cupertino used confidential data to launch Apple TV and other products.

EZ4Media is asking an Illinois court to grant an injunction and fine Apple for infringing on four patents on technology to stream video from a device to a television.

The company claims three employees with “confidential and proprietary information” about the patents were hired by Apple months before the computer-maker launched Apple TV, a product that streams video to home television screens.


The lawsuit charges Apple’s AirPort Express and Mac computers also violated patents EZ4Media in March acquired from Universal Electronics Inc (UEI).

The former UEI workers — Bruce Edwards, Wendy Goh and Nick Kalyjian — left the second quarter of 2005 and Apple TV was introduced September 2006, EZ4Media claims.

“The infringement by Apple has injured, and will continue to injure, EZ4Media unless and until such infringement is enjoined by the Court,” the company says in its six-page filing.

Apple could face larger penalties because EZ4Media manufactures a product using the named patents. This differs from patent-infringement lawsuits brought by so-called “patent trolls” that produce no product, seeking to leverage patents for revenue.

Along with Apple, the plaintiff is suing Logitech, Netgear, D-Link, Samsung, Pioneer, Yamaha and D&M Holdings, which oversees audio brands including Marantz, Boston Acoustics, McIntosh and Denon.

Samsung has settled with EZ4Media for an unknown amount, Apple Insider said Thursday.

The lawsuit against Apple is similar to one brought by IBM. In that case, the technology company is alleging former executive Mark Papermaster could provide Apple inside information. A court has temporarily ruled Papermaster cannot join Apple’s hardware unit.

6 responses to “Apple TV Hit With Patent Infringement Lawsuit”

  1. charli says:

    which begs the questions, did Apple have patents themselves for the items they were creating, what exactly are the patents (are they detailed or just one of those “I patent the idea of sending music to speakers without wires somehow” things etc.

    and I’m sorry but these hirings were three years ago and the items in questions are a good two years old each. so why are we just now hearing about these suits. they should have slammed the hirings right away like IBM did. it’s like they didn’t really care until they saw that there was a profit. which, if true, blows

  2. Shawen says:

    One thing that I noted from the EZ4Media web site is their COMPLETE lack of support for the MAC. Also, compared to the AppleTV their offering looks like an 8th grade since fair entry.
    I am not sure of the merits of the “patents” that they portend to have but it strikes me that even in 2005 the concept of streaming media to a TV was obvious if not implemented very often.

  3. ckd says:

    The AirPort Express, which could stream audio, shipped in June 2004. I guess it was sent back in time by Apple’s consultant “Doc” Brown so that they could ship it before hiring the folks from UEI.