Google sued in Germany over video streaming patent

The patent was successfully used to obtain sales bans against Android phones and tablets earlier this year

Google and YouTube have been sued in Germany for allegedly infringing on a video streaming patent owned by U.S. software company Max Sound. The case could lead to sales bans on several Google Android products.

Max Sound alleges that Google and YouTube infringe on a patent which describes technology for efficient transport of digital content. All products on the market that use the H.264 video compression format infringe on that patent, Max Sound claimed.

The case was filed with the District Court of Mannheim, Germany, in early December and targets Google's Android operating system which is used on many phones and tablets. The complaint is aimed in particular at the Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 smartphones as well as the Nexus 9 tablet, the Chromebook laptop and the Chromecast, a Wi-Fi device that allows users to stream video to HDMI TVs.

The suit also targets Google's video service YouTube which uses H.264 and also VP8, a codec now owned by Google. Max Sound requested information about profits and damages for each video streamed to Germany in one of the formats, it said.

According to the patent filing, the technology aims to reduce the use of bandwidth when transmitting video or other data with a system that does not require data to be compressed by the sender and decompressed by the receiver. Instead, the invention uses "data optimization" to transmit only the data that is necessary for the application in such a way that decompression of the data is not required on the receiving end.

Data optimization is one of the technologies used in H.264 that, like compression, reduces the amount of data, said Bernhard Arnold, a German intellectual property lawyer whose firm represents Max Sound.

In August, Max Sound said it had filed a similar patent infringement suit against Google in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware -- and also that it was suing Google in the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara, alleging misappropriation of trade secrets, following technical discussions with Google concerning the development of the VP8 codec.

Max Sound has also previously asserted the patent in Germany. It said that in September it was granted preliminary sales bans against two original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) by the Berlin Regional Court to stop the sale of certain Android devices in Germany at the IFA electronics fair in Berlin. The injunctions against Shenzhen KTC Technology and Pact Informatique, a French electronics company resulted in the seizure of all KTC and Pact smartphones and tablets at IFA in September, Max Sound said.

That injunction is still in place and wasn't appealed by the companies, Arnold said.

Max Sound expects a decision in the case against Google within 12 months, and said damages could amount to millions of euros. Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, online payment issues as well as EU technology policy and regulation for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Googleintellectual propertylegalpatentMax Sound

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Loek Essers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?