On July 28, 2010, an Israeli company by the name of Emblaze Ltd., maker of the advanced "Else" smartphone, filed a lawsuit against Apple Inc. for patent infringement. The lawsuit involves a single patent relating to real-time broadcasting over a network that the company claims is used without license by Apple in their iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and QuickTime X in Snow Leopard.
Emblaze Ltd., formerly known as Geo Interactive Media Group, Ltd., is the owner of the 2002 granted patent 6,389,473 titled "Network media streaming," which is referred to in the patent as '473. The '473 patent claims methods for real-time broadcasting over a network, such as the internet. Emblaze developed the technology described and claimed in the '473 patent has used this technology in its products.
Emblazed first unveiled the technology described and claimed in the patent in a live video streaming broadcast from the White House during Easter 1998. Emblaze's live streaming technology allows transmission of live audio and video to multiple devices, saves on data traffic, does not require devoted streaming servers, and allows reliable streaming even through firewalls.
Upon information and belief, Apple has used and continues to use, sold and/or offered to sell in New York and elsewhere and/or imported into New York and elsewhere products incorporating "HTTP Live Streaming Standard technology" that have been and can be used for realtime broadcasting and that infringe one or more of claims 9, 10, 11, 12, 18, 19, and 23 of the '473 patent (see below for details).
Apple announced the introduction of its HTTP Live Streaming Standard technology into its products on or about mid-2009, and such technology is embedded into Apple's best selling products (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and QuickTime X which is part of Apple's Snow Leopard OS).
Upon information and belief, the acts of infringement by Apple are willful, intentional and in conscious disregard of Emblaze's rights under patent '473. Shortly after Apple's CEO, Steve Jobs, announced Apple's adoption of the HTTP Live Streaming Standard technology into its products, Emblaze informed Apple that Apple's HTTP Live Streaming Standard technology infringes the '473 patent and offered Apple a license to practice under the '473 patent.
To date, Apple has declined to take a license under the '473 patent. Emblaze requests a trial by jury.
1. A method for real-time broadcasting from a transmitting computer to one or more client computers over a network, comprising: providing at the transmitting computer a data stream having a given data rate; dividing the stream into a sequence of slices, each slice having a predetermined data size associated therewith; encoding the slices in a corresponding sequence of files, each file having a respective index; and uploading the sequence to a server at an upload rate generally equal to the data rate of the stream, such that the one or more client computers can download the sequence over the network from the server at a download rate generally equal to the data rate.
2. A method according to claim 1, and comprising downloading the sequence using an Internet protocol over the network from the server to the one or more client computers.
The Patent Claims Quoted in the Lawsuit
9. A method according to claim 8, wherein uploading the sequence comprises uploading and updating an index file containing the index of the file in the sequence that was most recently uploaded, and wherein the one or more client computers read the index file to play back the sequence.
10. A method according to claim 9, wherein downloading the sequence comprises selecting a file in the sequence earlier than the file whose index is contained in the index file and downloading at least a portion of the encoded sequence of files beginning with the selected file.
11. A method according to claim 2, wherein encoding the slices comprises encoding slices at a plurality of different quality levels, such that the files corresponding to a given one of the slices have a different, respective data size for each of the quality levels.
12. A method according to claim 11, wherein downloading the sequence comprises determining a data bandwidth of the network between the server and the client computer and selecting one of the quality levels responsive to the determined bandwidth.
18. A method according to claim 1, wherein uploading the sequence comprises opening a plurality of file transfer links between the transmitting computer and the server, each link characterized by a respective link data rate, and uploading different files in the sequence over different ones of the plurality of links.
19. A method according to claim 18, wherein opening the plurality of links comprises opening links such that the data rates of the links taken together are sufficient to upload the sequence at the upload rate generally equal to the data rate.
23. A method according to claim 1, wherein dividing the stream into the sequence of slices comprises dividing the stream into a sequence of time slices, each having a predetermined duration associated therewith.
The Emblaze Ltd. lawsuit was filed by Cohen Pontani Lieberman and Pavane, LLP. The case has been assigned to Judge P. Kevin Castel.
Note: The "Else" video, linked in our report, starts about 8 seconds after the initial graphic fades out. So be patient, it's an interesting video. At the end of the first video, again be patient as the page will change and lead you to another full page that will allow you to "Enter" the site. Inside are five more videos and a detailed overview of the Else smartphone.
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