Patent trolls vs Netflix

The Herald reports:

It was the feature that users had been waiting for, but it could prove to be a costly headache for the streaming giant.

Late last year, Netflix introduced a feature that allowed users to download content and watch it while they’re offline. It’s a fairly standard concept but Netflix took its time in rolling out the feature, perhaps because it was preparing its defences.

A company known solely for its work as a “patent troll” has now filed a lawsuit against the streaming giant claiming it owns the patent over the basic idea of downloading video from the internet for offline consumption.

A patent troll is a company whose business model is based primarily, if not entirely, on buying up and suing other companies for potential infringements in an effort to gouge money out of large businesses.

And that is exactly what Blackbird Technologies hopes to achieve at the expense of Netflix.

The company was founded by two former corporate patent lawyers, Wendy Verlander and Chris Freeman, and last week they filed a complaint against Netflix, as well as separate suits against Soundcloud, Vimeo and a few other online services for breaching their patent. …

The patent pertains to a system that allows website content to be downloaded and burned to a writeable CD and automatically sent to someone, without any human interaction.

This is why NZ did a very good thing in abolishing patents for software. The industry in the US is mired in patent lawsuits which do nothing but enrich lawyers and punish innovation.

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