San Diego – Microsoft Corp. is facing a new patent infringement action from Emblaze Ltd. over devices that use its Windows 7 operating system like the Xbox 360, which Emblaze alleges violate its patent rights for an Internet streaming method.
Israel-based Emblaze sued Microsoft in the Northern District of California on Friday asserting its rights to U.S. Patent Number 6,389,473, which covers technology used for real-time broadcasting over a network like the Internet.
Emblaze first unveiled the technology described in the ’473 patent in a live video streaming broadcast of the 1998 White House annual Easter egg roll. The invention allows broadcasting of live audio and video to multiple devices, saves on data traffic, does not require devoted streaming servers and alllows reliable streaming even through firewalls, according to the company.
Microsoft has been directly infringing the ’473 patent by making and selling products including the Xbox 360 and other devices than run on either the Windows 7 or Windows Phone 7.0 operating systems to view live, smooth streaming multimedia content.
Specific infringing features in the accused devices include Microsoft’s Internet Information Server 7.0, Windows Azure servers, Silverlight 2.0 and Microsoft Media Platform Player Framework.
Emblaze says it offered Microsoft a license for the ’473 patent in August 2008, and so Microsoft has known about the patent for at least that long.
Nevertheless, in 2009 Microsoft announced the debut of its live smooth streaming application. Emblaze again wrote to Microsoft in February 2010 asserting its rights in the patent and again offered a license agreement.
“Discussions with Microsoft regarding a possible license agreement have failed, and to date, Microsoft has declined to take a license under the ’473 patent,” the complaint says.
Microsoft has also taken active steps to induce others to engage in infringement of the patent, according to Emblaze.
Emblaze has already filed a similar complaint against Apple Inc. for infringing the same patent with Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming Application used for Apple’s iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad devices as well as in Apple’s Mac OS, the company says.
“Emblaze has made substantial investment into research and development to build a rich portfolio of intellectual property over many years,” Emblaze Executive Chairman Naftali Shani said in a statement Tuesday. “While we are happy to license our technology to third parties, we will vigorously defend our rights and our competitive position.”