Bloomberg News

Apple Pushed Sports to Infringe Video Patent, Jury Told

June 30, 2014

Apple Inc. (AAPL:US) pushed organizations such as Major League Baseball to adopt its format for streaming live video, causing them to infringe a patent, a lawyer for Emblaze Ltd. (BLZ) told jurors at the start of a federal trial.

Martin Pavane made his opening statements today to a jury of five women and four men in San Jose, California. U.S. District Judge Paul S. Grewal before the trial limited Emblaze’s case to seven video-streaming services, such as MLB.com’s “At Bat” and WatchESPN.

Emblaze, based in Hertzliya Pituach, Israel, argues its U.S. patent issued in 2002 covers a process for delivering live-streaming video over wireless networks without interruption.

Apple began working on its HTTP live-streaming service, or HLS, “no earlier than 2007,” demanding that services such as “At Bat” use the format to drive sales of iPhones and iPads -- and inducing infringement of Emblaze’s patent, Pavane said.

“Apple’s HLS is nothing more than Emblaze’s patented solution under a different name,” he said.

Apple is engaged in patent disputes with companies large and small at the San Jose courthouse. It seeks a U.S. sales ban on some older models of Samsung Electronics Co. (005930)’s smartphones after a trial that concluded in May. Evidence in that case showed Google Inc. agreed to aid Samsung’s defense.

Golden Bridge

Earlier this month, Apple beat back a patent claim over technology in wireless networks from Golden Bridge Technology, Inc., a “non-practicing entity,” or patent holder, which doesn’t make a product. Apple, based in Cupertino, California, now faces a similar claim from Emblaze.

Apple lawyer Mark Fowler told jurors that the iPhone-maker’s success has made it a target of patent suits. Emblaze, by comparison, is a failure “trying to make up for that lack of success in the courtroom,” he said.

Emblaze manufactured and sold audio products, and attempted to sell its technology to wireless carriers and then phone companies, failing each time, Fowler said.

Fowler told jurors that he will prove that Emblaze’s patent is invalid and that none of the seven accused streaming services infringe it.

In a separate lawsuit filed in the same court, Emblaze accused Microsoft Corp. (MSFT:US) of infringing the same patent.

The case is Emblaze v. Apple, 11-cv-01079, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (San Jose).

To contact the reporter on this story: Joel Rosenblatt in San Francisco at jrosenblatt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net Stephen Farr, Joe Schneider


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