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
“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.
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
Lang expects the same from Apple and eagerly refuted the
“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
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
“Big universities come up with patents all the time. Does that
make Stanford a patent troll? Does that make MIT a patent troll?”