RealTime IT News

Burst.com Files Counter Suit Against Apple

Burst.com answered Apple Computer in court yesterday, counter-suing the company over alleged patent infringements.

Burst.com CEO Richard Lang said the success of Apple's popular iTunes, iPod and QuickTime products depend on the customer's ability to download a movie or a song in less time than it would take to play that video or song.

The technology behind that ability is a Burst.com invention, Lang told internetnews.com.

"I devised an apparatus and technology to take audio and video and deliver it at a different rate than it was being consumed," he said.

"We're pretty well known in the industry for having introduced the technology Apple uses in its products," Lang said. "We'd just like them to acknowledge that some of the innovation in their products come from elsewhere."

An Apple spokesperson told internetnews.com the company does not comment on pending litigation.

The suit against Apple bears similarities to a recent court case against BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM).

Then, another small company, NTP, sued RIM, a larger and more commercially successful company, over an alleged patent infringement.

Without admitting liability, RIM eventually settled with NTP for $612.5 million.

RIM's defense throughout the case was that NTP was merely a "patent troll," hoarding an innovation it never intended to use.

Lang expects the same from Apple and eagerly refuted the characterization.

"My understanding of patent troll is somebody who just pops up with patents who don't do anything who just try to hold up companies," he said. "We're not anything like that. We offer and still offer a software platform."

But even if Burst.com were a patent troll, Lang argues that property still belongs to its owner, no matter what they do with it.

"Either patents are a real asset that people can invest in or they're not," Lang said. "If they are, it shouldn't really matter who owns them.

"Big universities come up with patents all the time. Does that make Stanford a patent troll? Does that make MIT a patent troll?"