PacketVideo Sues Spotify over Music Sharing Platform

Aug 17, 2011

By Kerrie Spencer, staff technology writer – August 17, 2011

How often have you thought about suing someone for stealing your idea? It is a concept that has made the rounds now and then on coffee row, but not many people have actually pursued it any further than just talking. However, with the way the world is rapidly advancing into places we only ever dreamed about, with technology that is light years ahead of what it once used to be, ideas and technology are now partnered up into some really unique ideas. And what becomes of those ideas appears to be the crux of interesting developments in the legal arena.

Just when you thought things were about to get boring on the legal front, a new player enters into techland. Meet Spotify, which you might think was a moniker for a dog if you did not know it was a company name. Spotify is actually a European company that offers a digital music service. They have been doing their thing overseas since 2008, and have a substantial following.

Spotify offers a free streaming for licensed music, kept free thanks to ads, and they also allow users to listen anywhere they have a Spotify client.  There is also an alternative paid option to get rid of the ads and let users stream without a web connection, over a cell phone or mobile device. Sounds good on the surface, but the part about streaming music over a cell phone, or other mobile device, is what PacketVideo’s lawsuit against Spotify involves. [1]

PacketVideo develops software that enables users to wirelessly stream video and, you guessed it, music. To this end, they are pointing a finger at Spotify and yelling “patent infringement,” specifically U.S. patent number 5,636,276. PacketVideo’s patent outlines a device for distributing music in digital form, and they are insisting that this is the same technology that lets Spotify’s cloud based service exist.

While that allegation alone may not make for a solid patent infringement lawsuit, there is another component involved. PacketVideo states they notified Spotify in May that they held the above-mentioned patent, and claim that their complaints were ignored. Slightly bent out of shape about the whole affair, PacketVideo then chose to file a lawsuit in which they seek to win judgment for willful violation of their patent and to have the court slap Spotify with a permanent injunction in the U.S.

Spotify, already have deals in place with Sony and several other major labels, and they insist their technology is fully proprietary, and completely based on their own hybrid technology that makes use of peer-to-peer technology. They stand by the claim that their service makes the end user’s experience really fast, simple and highly sociable – something that many users find highly appealing. [4]

Spotify plans to rebut the allegations being lined up against them. PacketVideo never filed for the patent in question. Instead, the patent came with a Swiss company they bought a few years ago.

Of course, we do not know why PacketVideo waited three years to file this lawsuit when they became “neighbors” with Spotify in the European market in 2008.