Jury Clears RealNetworks of Infringement


RealNetworks continued its strong April run Friday by prevailing in a patent
lawsuit brought by Ethos Technology.

A Massachusetts jury unanimously ruled
that the Seattle-based RealNetworks did not infringe on
any of Ethos’s 10 claims.


Ethos contended that two RealNetworks downloading products — RealDownload
Express and RealDownload — were based on Ethos technology. Ethos was seeking
$200 million in damages.


“Since the legal dispute between the parties commenced over five years ago,
Real has vigorously denied Ethos’s patent claims and defended our position
that we do not infringe the patents,” Robert Kimball, senior vice president
and general counsel for RealNetworks, said in a statement.


The verdict improved RealNetworks’s stock price, which has gained 20
percent in April and hit 52-week highs on several days last week.


Ethos first brought legal action against RealNetworks in 2000. RealNetworks
said the first patent infringement suit brought by Ethos was dismissed.
After Ethos went out of business in 2001, another infringement suit was
brought.


“While we respect intellectual property rights and the rights of inventors
to protect their innovations, we have also made it clear that we would not
be pressured into taking a license for technology we did not use and patents
that we did not infringe,” Kimball said.


According to Kimball, RealNetworks has not distributed RealDownload in
several years and RealDownload Express was a “minor” product.


Last year, RealNetworks ended a long-running legal dispute with
Microsoft when the two companies announced a $761 million settlement of
RealNetworks’s antitrust claims against Microsoft.


RealNetworks accused Microsoft of abusing its monopoly to limit choices in
digital media players, hurting distribution of RealPlayer.

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