DirecTV Deal Puts Video Compression IP Suit to Rest (Law360)
By Megan Leonhardt
DirecTV Inc. on Tuesday settled patent infringement claims brought by Multimedia Patent Trust, ending a case in California federal court accusing the satellite television provider and others of infringing five video compression patents.
U.S. District Judge Marilyn L. Huff signed off on an order dismissing the case with prejudice, saying DirecTV and Multimedia Patent had advised the court that they had come to a "mutually satisfactory resolution of all issues between them."
Tuesday's motion dismissing DirecTV closed the case, as all of DirecTV's co-defendants have been dismissed, most recently Vizio Inc. in November. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Multimedia Patent in February 2009 filed the suit against DirecTV and nearly a dozen other companies including Dish Network Corp., EchoStar Orbital Corp. and Westinghouse Digital Electronics LLC. It claimed the companies infringed patents for methods of encoding and decoding moving image signals, a process known as video compression.
Video compression reduces the amount of digital data needed to represent video so it can be sent more efficiently over communications media, such as the Internet and satellites, or stored more efficiently on storage media such as DVDs and Blu-ray discs, the suit said.
Without video compression, it would be impossible to store a feature-length film on a single DVD or retrieve videos from the Internet, according to the complaint.
The suit asserted U.S. Patent Numbers 4,958,226; 5,227,878; 5,136,377; 5,550,678; and 5,563,593, which were issued to Multimedia Patent between 1990 and 1996, it said.
Multimedia Patent sought a judgment that the defendants had infringed the patents-in-suit, injunctive relief, treble damages for willful infringement, attorneys' fees and other costs.
While the suit against DirecTV may have ended, Multimedia Patent has several other suits over the same patents still pending against other major corporations, including Apple Inc. and Canon Inc.
In December 2010, Multimedia Patent lodged a suit against Apple and Cannon, along with Korean electronics maker LG Electronics Inc. and digital television provider Tivo Inc., alleging the companies' laptops, digital camcorders, cellphones and other digital recording devices infringed the ‘226, ‘878 and ‘337 patents.
Multimedia Patent also has litigation pending in California federal court against a slew of television studios, movie houses and electronics companies, including Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
A representative for DirecTV declined to comment Tuesday. Representatives for Multimedia Patent did not immediately return requests for comment.
The patents-in-suit in the current matter are U.S. Patent Numbers 4,958,226; 5,227,878; 5,500,678; and 5,136,377.
Multimedia Patent is represented by Cooley LLP.
DirecTV is represented by Fish & Richardson PC and Perkins Coie LLP.
The case is Multimedia Patent Trust v. DirecTV Inc. et al., case number 3:09-cv-0278, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
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