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Poor Spotify. Not even a few weeks have passed since it finally debuted in the United States and already someone's doing everything they can to rid of 'em -- in this case, it's PacketVideo. The company -- one that you've never hard of, because I haven't either -- posits that Spotify committed patent infringement against their decade old streaming video idea, one that apparently never came to fruition (at least not to our knowledge).
The actual patent in question is for a "device for the distribution of music information in digital form." But as TechDirt points out, this just sounds way too broad. Anyway, it's not the title of the patent that makes the case, it's really what's in the fine print. The main claim:
a central memory device which is connected to a communications network and has a databank of digitized music information and, a terminal which is connected to the central memory device via the communications network, the central memory device being equipped with a retrieval module and the said modules having the capability to interact via the communications network in order to order and transmit selectively chosen music information, wherein the selectively chosen music information is organized with a defined format for transmission in a digital music information object, the format including a core and a number of additional layers, the core including at least one object identification code, object structure information, a consumer code and an encryption table and the one or more additional layers including the actual music information, wherein the central memory device has an encryption module for encryption of the music information object before transmission using the encryption table, and wherein the terminal has a decryption module for decryption of the music information object before its reproduction using the encryption table, an interpretation module for interpretation and reproduction conditioning of the music information object as well as an authorization device having identification information for identification of the terminal and of the consumer which is retrievable by the interpretation module and by the decryption module for authorization checking.
Did you get all that? Yeah, it's all a jumble. TechDirt points out that PacketVideo actually had nothing to do with this patent initially -- the company only purchased the rights to it a few years back. And anyway, there's nothing absurdly amazing in the patent that says Spotify can't continue executing what it's managed to figure out -- how to stream all that wonderful audio to our ears without exhausting bandwidth. In our opinion, it looks like just another case of patents being used to stir up trouble for no good reason.