Apple iTunes, Sony PlayStation Network targeted in patent suit

A South African inventor alleges that iTunes and PlayStation Network are in violation of his patent

A South African inventor has claimed in a U.S. federal court that Apple's iTunes and Sony's PlayStation Network infringe a patent relating to a "data vending system" issued to him in 2004.

In lawsuits filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Benjamin Grobler alleged that Apple and Sony have infringed U.S. Patent No. 6,799,084 by making and offering infringing data vending systems such as iTunes and the PlayStation Network, and that the companies are inducing their customers' infringement by using these systems, according to Grobler's attorneys.

Sony and Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the lawsuits.

The invention provides among other things a data vending system, including a data depot for storing digitized or analog music, video, games, information, and computer programs, and a data dispensing device in communication with the data depot, according to a record of the patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

It also provides for a uniquely identifiable recordable data carrier, described as a recordable device like a removal hard disk or flash memory, configured for recording data from the data dispensing device, and a database for keeping a record of the data recorded by a user onto the recordable device, at least a part of which is stored remotely from the device.

The invention aimed to address the issue of copyright infringement in which copying usually takes the form of unauthorized copies being made from an original or authorized copy. It also wanted to allow authorized end users to recover lost or damaged data without having to purchase again an authorized copy from the copyright owner or a licensed vendor, and also allows for the deletion of the data after a certain period if it is downloaded under a rental scheme.

The complainant has asked the court among other things for a judgment that Apple has infringed and continues to infringe the claims of the patent, besides a claim for damages to be decided at the trial. A copy of the complaint against Sony was not available in the court records.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Mobile

Exec

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?