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Nissim, Contributor to the DVD Specification, Sues Apple for Patent Infringement

21 Patently Legal
1af 88 macbook with dvd player

Nissim Corp played a role in the development of the DVD specification and licenses their technology to an impressive list of technologies companies including Bose, Alienware, Dell, Hitachi, HP, Lenovo and more. Evidently Apple isn't one of them and Nissim is suing Apple for the years that they sold Macs with DVD players and didn't license their technology.


Overview of Nissim and their Patent Infringement Case


The following is directly from Nissim's formal complaint before the court.


"Nissim is the owner of an extraordinarily valuable portfolio of United States Patents (collectively the "Nissim Patents"). The Nissim Patents cover, among other things, multiple features that are required by certain industry adopted specifications known as the DVD Specifications for Read Only Disc Part 3 Video Specifications, Version 1.1, December 1997 (the "DVD Specifications"). Max Abecassis, the sole owner of Nissim, is the sole inventor of the Nissim Patents.


The Nissim Patents have been recognized by virtually the entire consumer electronics industry as essential to the required implementation of the DVD Specifications in DVD-Video discs and in devices capable of playing DVD-Video discs, including stand-alone DVD players as well as DVD-enabled computers. Notably, every member of the DVD Consortium that formulated the DVD Specifications – including such companies as Toshiba, Sony, Philips, Pioneer, Hitachi, Matsushita, Mitsubishi, Pioneer, Thomson, and JVC – is a Nissim licensee. Nissim's licensees also include numerous other major consumer-electronics companies such as Acer, Bose, Dell, Funai, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Lenovo, LG, Microsoft, Samsung, and Sharp, among many others.


All DVD-Videos and devices capable of playing DVD-Videos ("DVD- Devices") which bear the DVD logo must operate in accordance with the requirements of the DVD Specifications. The DVD Specifications ensure the compatibility of all DVD-Videos with all DVD-Devices.


Apple made no contribution to the DVD-Specifications, but Apple has sold numerous DVD-Devices including (1) desktops, (2) laptops, (3) servers and (4) external optical drives that have implemented the DVD Specifications.


There are several essential capabilities contained within all DVD-Videos and DVD-Devices in compliance with the DVD Specifications that infringe claims of the Nissim Patents. Among these capabilities are Seamless Play and User Operation Control.


Seamless Play capabilities enable, in response to a user's content preferences, the non-intermittent playback of each of the different paths within a video that has multiple language credits, parental levels and/or multi-camera angles. The implementation of Seamless Play is demonstrated in DVD-Videos that offer different versions within a video, such as both "R" and "PG" rated versions, or both theatrical release and director's cut versions. The DVD Specifications provide for the use of segment information carried by a DVD-Video that is implemented by a DVD-Device to play, from within the same video, more than one version of a video. These Seamless Play capabilities of the DVD Specifications are incorporated into all DVD-Devices and are covered by the Nissim Patents.


User Operation Control capabilities enable the operation or prohibition of certain video playback controls, e.g., fast forward or skip, during the playback of a segment of a video. User Operation Control utilizes segment codes to prohibit users from, for example, fast- forwarding through certain segments, such as menu screen, advertising and the FBI copyright warning. The DVD Specifications require every DVD-Device to enable User Operation Control.


Pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 286, this action seeks recovery for damages accruing prior to the patents' respective expiration dates.


Apple Charged with Six Counts of Patent Infringement


The patents listed in Nissim's formal complaint before the court against Apple include the following:


  • 5,434,678 entitled "Seamless Transmission Of Non-Sequential Video Segments"
  • 5,589,945 entitled "Computer-Themed Playing System"
  • 5,913,013 entitled "Seamless Transmission Of Non-Sequential Video Segments"
  • 6,151,444 entitled "Motion Picture Including within a Duplication of Frames"
  • 6,208,805 entitled "Inhibiting a Control Function from Interfering with a Playing of a Video"
  • 6,643,207 entitled "Playing a Variable-Content-Video Having A User Interface"


Generally, Nissan claims that Apple has directly and/or indirectly infringed their patents by importing, selling and offering for sale DVD-Devices including (1) desktops, (2) laptops, (3) servers and (4) external optical drives capable of playing DVD-Videos in accordance with the DVD-Specifications.


The patent infringement case presented in today's report was filed in the Florida Southern District Court, Miami office. The Presiding Judge in this case is noted as being Cecilia M. Altonaga.


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