Apple Dodges $511M Bullet in Live Video-Streaming Patent Trial
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) chalked up another win in its seemingly endless patent-infringement battles when a jury recently determined that the iPhone maker is not infringing on another company’s patent for live video streaming. The case revolved around a patent titled “Network media streaming” that is held by Emblaze, a small tech company based in Israel.
In its complaint, Emblaze claimed that Apple’s proprietary HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) video protocol infringes on its patent. “Apple’s HLS is nothing more than Emblaze’s patented solution under a different name,” said Emblaze’s lawyer Martin Pavane, according to Bloomberg.
Emblaze also accused Apple of inducing infringement by pushing other companies to use its HLS video protocol. Seven video-streaming apps were accused of infringing on Emblaze’s patented technology, including MLB at Bat, WatchESPN, ABC News, PGA, and NFL Preseason. The lawsuit could have resulted in a substantial financial penalty for Apple since the Cupertino-based company has used the HLS video protocol in its iOS-based devices since the release of iOS 3 in 2009. As noted in a press release from Emblaze, the company was seeking approximately $511 million from Apple over its alleged infringement.
In the trial, Apple’s lawyer Mark Fowler characterized Emblaze as a failed company and said it was “trying to make up for that lack of success in the courtroom,” according to Bloomberg. Apple’s characterization of Emblaze as a failed company suggests that it was trying to paint Emblaze as a non-practicing entity, or “patent troll.” According to PatentFreedom — an organization that tracks lawsuits filed by non-practicing entities — a non-practicing entity is a company that derives “the majority of its revenue from the licensing or enforcement of its intellectual property.”