RealTime IT News

RealNetworks Slapped with Patent Suit

A small San Francisco technology firm has slapped a patent infringement lawsuit against RealNetworks and Listen.com over the use of software to find, personalize and play streaming media.

Friskit, Inc., founded by former Amazon.com vice president George Aposporos, said it filed the suit in federal court in Chicago, accusing RealNetworks and Listen.com of infringing patents in RealOne Player Plus and Listen.com's Rhapsody fee-based music services.

The suit potentially encompasses revenues from sales of both the players and subscription products, Friskit said.

RealNetworks is on the verge of closing a deal to purchase Listen.com.

"We've spent years and millions of dollars developing the simplest and most convenient ways for consumers to find, personalize and play streaming media over networks," Aposporos declared, warning that lawsuits against other music subscription services could be coming down the pike.

RealNetworks officials could not be reached for comment at press time.

Friskit said its patent portfolio includes US Patent 6,389,467 relating to "Streaming Media Search and Continuous Playback System of Media Resources Located by Multiple Network Addresses"; US Patent 6,484,199 for "Streaming Media Search and Playback System for Continuous Playback Through a Network"; and US Patent 6,519,648 related to "Streaming Media Search and Continuous Playback of Multiple Media Resources Located on a Network."

"If Friskit succeeds in obtaining a permanent injunction, RealOne and Rhapsody could be prevented from offering a number of critical features, such as the ability for consumers to incorporate streaming media in personalized playlists, or to listen to a set of songs sequentially and continuously. The suit exposes RealNetworks to potentially millions of dollars of damages," Friskit said in a statement.