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Thursday, 16 October 2003

MICROSOFT IN PATENT BATTLE

ZD News reports that New York company, E-Data has filed a patent suit in Germany against Microsoft, Tiscali and OD2 (a digital music company). E-Data claims that the companies’ downloading services (MSN Music Club and Tiscali Music Club) which enable consumers to download music off the internet and record it on to a CD for a fee, infringe a patent it was granted in 1985 that is valid in Germany, England, France, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Italy, Luxembourg, Belgium and Sweden. The patent covers the sending of information to a remote point-of-sale, where information is then transferred to a material object such as storage media. A US case on the patent previously held that while recording music on to a computer’s hard drive is not within the teaching of the patent, recording on to physical media such as a CD at an in-store music kiosk is. E Data is seeking to equate a person’s home computer with a remote kiosk and is arguing that a CD or MP3 player constitutes transference to a physical object.

The IPKat is more accustomed to seeing copyright disputes, rather than patent cases, in the field of music downloads. As the case stands, E-Data are trying to draw an analogy between today’s technology and the state of technology in 1985, long before the days of the Internet Revolution, let alone music downloads. The analogy seems like a bit of a stretch – for example, can a person’s home computer really be equated with a music kiosk based in a conventional shop?

For the wonderful world of kiosks click here, here and here


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