Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Patent Holding Companies Everywhere - And Not a Drop To Drink: Apple Computer has become the latest in a line of companies licensing patents from the relatively obscure E-Data, a company that claims to hold property rights on the process of selling music online.

E-Data said Wednesday that it had reached a European agreement with Apple that gave the company worldwide rights for its iTunes Music Store. It has now launched a new round of patent infringement suits against 14 companies including Amazon.com and The New York Times.

Previously, E-Data sued and settled with Microsoft, as well as a handful of other companies, largely under European patent rules.

"This settlement with Apple marks another important milestone, as we aggressively pursue companies that are infringing upon our intellectual property," said E-Data Chairman Bert Brodsky. "We have identified additional companies that are infringing upon our intellectual property, both in the U.S. and abroad, and will seek the necessary legal actions to ensure that our rights are enforced worldwide."

E-Data has been one of the most successful of a generation of companies that has emerged claiming patent rights to what many view as basic Internet business or technology procedures, such as e-commerce, streaming media and Web browser elements.

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