Apple sued for patent infringement

Burst.com filed a patent counterclaims lawsuit in the Federal District Court in San Francisco on Monday accusing Apple of infringing on four of its patents. Burst claims that Apple’s iTunes Music Store, iTunes software, the iPod devices and Apple’s QuickTime Streaming products are all affected by the patents.

Burst filed the suit in response to an Apple filing earlier this year asking the courts to rule that Burst’s patents were invalid and as such Apple did not infringe on them. In its counterclaim Burst is asking that Apple pay a reasonable royalty for its infringing products and services — Burst is also seeks an injunction against further infringement.

Burst said in the filing that its technology has been essential to Apple’s success, providing it with a critical audio and video-on-demand media delivery solution. Burst’s Chairman & CEO Richard Lang said the company did not want to settle things in court, but will enforce its patent.

“We have a responsibility to protect our patents and to seek a fair return for the many years and tremendous investment that we have made in developing Burst technology and patents,” said Lang in a prepared statement.

Microsoft settled a similar lawsuit brought by Burst in March 2005. Microsoft paid Burst $60 million for a non-exclusive license for the patents.

Lang speculated that Apple might have assumed that Burst’s patents would be invalidated in Microsoft’s defense of the then-pending litigation.

“While we had hoped to avoid litigation and negotiate a reasonable license fee, it is Apple’s own actions that have forced our hand,” said Lang. “We now look to the courts to reaffirm Burst’s rights as innovators and to be paid fairly for our widely acknowledged contributions to the industry.”

An Apple representative was not immediately available for comment.

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