Spotify has barely been open in the US for a couple of weeks and they have already been hit with a lawsuit – quite the welcoming party. The company kicking up the fuss is decade-old video streaming company PacketVideo with a claim that Spotify is infringing patent number 5,636,276 for a “Device for the distribution of music information in digital form”.
TechDirt has some interesting analysis of the situation and how broad this patent is, with the following as the description of the 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.
PacketVideo didn;t even develop this patent – they bought it years ago and have done nothing to execute it into a new and innovative product like Spotify. This is just another story of a patent troll trying to extort money out of innovators. A copy of the infringement claim is embedded below.