Spotify Slapped with Patent Suit as Infringement Saga Hits the Music Scene

We are all familiar with the infringement wars going around the mobile world as HTC battles Apple, Apple fends off Samsung, Oracle takes on Google, and so on and so forth.  But these patent infringement battles also extend to other sectors of the tech realm.  Spotify, the European music service that recently launched in the US, was sued by PacketVideo Corp. for patent infringement of its United States Patent No. 5,636,276 entitled “Device for the Distribution of Music in Digital Form.” The suit was filed at the US District Court, Southern District of California on Wednesday (Case No: ’11CV1659 IEG).

“Spotify USA has offered for sale, sold, and imported products and/or services configured to infringe the ‘276 patent, and instructed and encouraged others to use the ‘276 patent in an infringing manner.”

“PacketVideo has a strong intellectual property portfolio, and will take any necessary action needed to protect its intellectual property and prevent the misuse of its patents,” says Joel Espelien, general counsel and vice president of strategic relationships.

Spotify released their statement regarding the issue:

“In just under three years, Spotify has become more popular than any other music service of its kind,” the company said in the e-mail. “This success is, in large part, due to our own highly innovative, proprietary hybrid technology that incorporates peer-to-peer technology. The result is what we humbly believe to be a better music experience-lightning fast, dead simple and really social.

“PacketVideo is claiming that by distributing music over the Internet, Spotify (and by inference, any other similar digital music service) has infringed one of the patents that has previously been acquired by PacketVideo,” the company continued. “Spotify is strongly contesting PacketVideo’s claim.

The ironic thing about this is that Spotify took years of struggling with US laws before finally breaking into the US airwaves, only to be welcomed by a patent lawsuit.  The irony, eh?

As for other patent infringement cases, Groupon, the daily deals site is being sued by SellerBid, Inc. over the ‘024 patent’; A10 sued Brocade in what seems like a retaliation for Brocades suit against them in 2010; and finally, Microsoft is being sued by Impulse technology for their motion tracking and gaming used in  the Kinect game console.  It’s a common practice with emerging technology, effecting some of the most disruptive companies in their respective sectors.