Mission Abstract Data LLC d/b/a Digimedia isn’t backing down from claims that it owns the patent rights to accessing music from hard drives in radio stations. It has asked a federal court to move ahead with its patent infringement case against seven major radio groups and not grant a stay while the US Patent and Trademark Office reviews the legitimacy of the patents.
As first reported by RBR-TVBR, Digimedia filed suit against Beasley Broadcasting, CBS Radio, Cox Radio, Cumulus, Entercom, Greater Media and Townsquare Media claiming that their 900 or so radio stations were infringing two patents held by Digiimedia for using hard drives at radio stations to access music for broadcast. As RBR-TVBR pointed out, the patent claims were filed in 1994, well after several such products were already being sold to broadcasters and used in radio stations.
The radio groups filed their counterclaims in May arguing not only that the patents aren’t valid, but seeking damages from Digimedia for trying to enforce patents that it knew, or should have known, were bogus.
Since then Broadcast Electronics, a vendor of radio station studio equipment has filed with the Patent Office for a review of the Digimedia patents, seeking to have them declared invalid. The broadcasters have asked the federal court to put the patent infringement case on hold until the review is completed.
Digimedia argues that the review could take years and that the delay could harm it as patent holder. It also claims, without much explanation, that its patents are “unlikely” to be canceled.
The court hasn’t ruled on the broadcasters’ motion to stay the proceedings. Most recently, though, it has ordered mediation to try to resolve the case. There’s no word on whether those discussions are likely to produce a settlement.
RBR-TVBR observation: The latest filing by Digimedia tries to dismiss as “irrelevant” media reports by RBR-TVBR and other industry trade publications that the technology was already well known and in widespread use before the patent claims were ever filed. In the end, though, you can’t change history.