Monday, June 13, 2005

ET TU, ANTOR? With all the Acacia's, Forgents and what-nots out there, it appears another company, Antor Media, is looking to create a splash in the world of mobile phone media downloading, by simultaneously suing Nokia, UTStarcom, Audiovox, Kyocera, Sanyo, Sharp, NEC, RIM, Virgin Mobile, LG Electronics, Palm One and Panasonic. The case was filed last month in the now-predictable venue of the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

The complaint alleges that the companies infringed patent number 5,734,961 and catchily called "Method and apparatus for transmitting information recorded on information storage means from a central server to subscribers via a high data rate digital telecommunications network". Antor was apparently assigned this patent on the 31st of March, 1998.

Antor alleges that the defendants infringe its patent by making devices and offering sales for the downloading of media including video, music and ringtones. Antor has also previously sued Apple Computer on similar grounds. I have a hard time believing this patent will survive invalidity challenges. Claim 1 reads:

1. Method of receiving information from one of a plurality of information systems via a high data rate telecommunication network in response to a request from one of plural subscriber stations, said method comprising the steps of:

initiating a two-way transmission from subscriber computer means of said one of said plural subscriber stations to one of said information systems via said telecommunication network,

outputting on output means of said one of said plural subscriber stations data related to plural information stored at one of said information systems,

selecting at said one of said plural subscriber stations at least one of said information by means of input means of said one of said plural subscriber stations and transmitting a signal identifying said at least one selected information from said subscriber computer means to a selected information system via said telecommunication network,

receiving at said one of said plural subscriber stations from said selected information system digital signals via said telecommunication network, expanding by expansion means said transmitted signals, converting said expanded digital signals into analog
signals and delivering said analog signals to transducer means.

Very broad stuff. There is also an EU equivalent to this patent, but it has been abandoned for failing to pay the yearly maintenance fees.

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