bit-tech.net

Sony sued over Blu-ray patent

Sony sued over Blu-ray patent

Did Sony take several shortcuts while developing Blu-ray, or is Orinda just another patent troll?

Sony has found itself involved in legal tussles once more, this time over alleged patent infringement with its Blu-ray technologies.

BetaNews reports that an intellectual property company – that is, a company which buys the patents from other firms with the avowed intention of suing people with big pockets – called Orinda IP USA is accusing Sony of infringing its patent on “Apparatus and method for recording/reproducing optical information and optical disk-shaped recording medium.” If you thought that the terms of the patent sounded vague, you'd be right.

The patent dates back to 1993 – so it's hardly cutting-edge technology – and was originally filed by Hyundai Electronics Industries. Having purchased the patent, Orinda is looking to make a fat profit: stating that any and all Blu-ray devices fall under the terms of the patent, the company is asking for an injunction against Sony along with an agreement to receive royalties, triple damages, backdated interest, and the full payment of legal fees. Plus the moon on a stick, one assumes.

This isn't the first time Sony has been accused of taking shortcuts while developing Blu-ray, either: back in 2007 the company was sued by Target Technologies over a corrosion-preventing layer in Blu-ray discs that the company claimed Sony had appropriated.

Filed on the 20th of August in East Texas – a court well beloved of patent hoarders – this latest case will be presided over by Judge T. John Ward, a man well known for siding with patent holders in these disputes. Whether this spells trouble for Sony remains to be seen.

Do you see yet another patent troll going after the deepest pockets it can, or is there something to Orinda's claims after all? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

25 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
liratheal 1st September 2008, 10:01 Quote
Mm, another legal dispute.

Anyone want to bet Orinda get buried in paper for the next milenia?
ChaosDefinesOrder 1st September 2008, 10:08 Quote
according to Wikipedia, the Compact Disc has been on the market since 1982. Recordable CDs (ie an "Apparatus and method for recording/reproducing optical information and optical disk-shaped recording medium") have been available since 1990!

1993 is a few years after this, therefore surely the "prior art" argument works for this "patent" thus rendering it invalid?

Patent trolls should be ordered to make good on their IP within a year of purchasing the patent before they're permitted to bring anything to court. If they bring something to court without any intentions on licensing or using the technology themselves, they should be forced to pay the defendents the same amount they're suing for!

Go to hell Orinda
Arkanrais 1st September 2008, 10:39 Quote
freaking patent trolls.
no sueing over DVD's, CD's UMD's Laser Disc's, HD-DVD's? of course not. they have to wait till there is a large enough company who pretty much owns the current market on the tech and has a good enough pocket of cash to take.
hey, why don't we devise a patent for devices sending electrical impulses through wires to other devices?

F*** Orinda sideways. I hope they lose and get counter sued into oblivion for wasting the courts time and being a company of douches.
Burnout21 1st September 2008, 10:50 Quote
I hope sony sue there arses for this, Sueing WAR!!!
Paradigm Shifter 1st September 2008, 12:06 Quote
That is ridiculous - that patent is so vague I'm amazed it was ever granted in the first place. Aside from that, as others have said, 'optical disc shaped recording medium' covers everything from CDs to UMDs to Blu-ray. It's not just Orinda - patent trolls as they are - but whoever granted that patent clearly wasn't doing their job properly.
docodine 1st September 2008, 12:09 Quote
I would love to see this guy begging on the streets.
Mentai 1st September 2008, 12:36 Quote
Intellectual property company's should be illegal. They're professional trolls! I agree with the notion that if a patent is not acted on within a year it is made redundant. This system is in desperate need of fixing.
identikit 1st September 2008, 13:16 Quote
Just wait until software patents take off...
pdf27 1st September 2008, 13:19 Quote
Read the claims in the patent guys. This patent only covers a method of error checking on the disk prior to writing to it with a laser. Hence pressed blu-ray disks aren't covered, nor are read-only drives. CD/DVD burners using this error correction algorithm may be infringing it though.

http://v3.espacenet.com/jpeg?PN=US5438560
Yemerich 1st September 2008, 13:23 Quote
As thousands of scientists struggle for years in developing something, stupid leech lawers study some hours in searching for breachs in the laws to make easy money on the hard workers.

So, for each technical questions they raise, lawyers raise ten legal issues.

This is holding science back!

Intellectual property company... this is outrageous!
DXR_13KE 1st September 2008, 13:55 Quote
i hate patent trolls...
ChaosDefinesOrder 1st September 2008, 14:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdf27
Read the claims in the patent guys. This patent only covers a method of error checking on the disk prior to writing to it with a laser. Hence pressed blu-ray disks aren't covered, nor are read-only drives. CD/DVD burners using this error correction algorithm may be infringing it though.

http://v3.espacenet.com/jpeg?PN=US5438560

According to the wikipedia article on Compact Discs, Recordable CDs have been available since 1990 (as I mentioned earlier), so the error checking before burning has been around that long as well, as I'd find it remarkable if such error checking wasn't included for 3 years after recordable CDs were marketed... especially given that error checking/data redundancy has been present right from conception of CDs...

What's confusing is that the title of the patent has nothing to do with error correction, so that's a rather ambiguous patent in the first place. That's like patenting a "cyclindrical aqueous based beverage container" (i.e. a mug) and then specifying that the patent only covers the mug handle!

Also, that flow chart could be applied to hard disk based media...
pdf27 1st September 2008, 15:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaosDefinesOrder
According to the wikipedia article on Compact Discs, Recordable CDs have been available since 1990 (as I mentioned earlier), so the error checking before burning has been around that long as well, as I'd find it remarkable if such error checking wasn't included for 3 years after recordable CDs were marketed... especially given that error checking/data redundancy has been present right from conception of CDs...
Indeed. And if that method of error checking was used elsewhere, that constitutes prior art and the patent is invalid. If (as the claims state) this is an improved method of carrying out error checking, the patent is valid.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaosDefinesOrder
What's confusing is that the title of the patent has nothing to do with error correction, so that's a rather ambiguous patent in the first place. That's like patenting a "cyclindrical aqueous based beverage container" (i.e. a mug) and then specifying that the patent only covers the mug handle!
Seriously, that is pretty clear as some patents go. I've got one going through at the moment (w00t - it's finally been published if not yet granted) and even I have to read carefully to understand what they're going on about.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaosDefinesOrder
, that flow chart could be applied to hard disk based media...
Yep. And if Sony can demonstrate that someone else was using an identical or substantially similar method of error checking on a hard disk (such that doing so to a CD would be obvious to "someone well versed in the art") then there is no inventive step and the patent is invalid. Of course, that also leaves them open to being sued by whoever invented the HDD error checking method ;)
hitman012 1st September 2008, 15:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paradigm Shifter
That is ridiculous - that patent is so vague I'm amazed it was ever granted in the first place. Aside from that, as others have said, 'optical disc shaped recording medium' covers everything from CDs to UMDs to Blu-ray.
Well, then it's a good thing they don't grant patents based on a glance at the title. If you actually read the patent and look at the 'Description of the Prior Art' section then it explains why it is different to a conventional CD.
Bluephoenix 1st September 2008, 16:09 Quote
here's where history is fun.


Sony originally invented the recordable CD and music CD, so they can claim that patent infringes upon their previous research.

(the reason a recordable CD is the size it is is because the head of Sony BMG at the time loved symphonies and wanted all of beethoven's 5th on a single disc in uncompressed format.)

this isn't going to hold up.


also if they didn't want it thrown out on stupidity they'd have to sue every optical disc mfg. from 1993 until now, or it gets thrown out as selective application.
saxman 1st September 2008, 18:14 Quote
This seems so stupid that a company can actually be profitable by buying patents solely for the purpose of suing another company for a very widely used technology. The whole purpose of a patent is to protect the original inventor from being exploited for his/her hard work. I would be plain pissed at Orinda just for being total pricks and trying to capitalize on some of my work without the slightest interest in using it.

As far as the patent reads it is a method not only for error checking but also how to allow the drive to understand where the data is if there is a bad sector and it needs to be placed somewhere else on the disk. Also the fairly standard affair of redundant information on an optical disk, I am still not sure how much of this is really important to sony's BRdisks or how similar the process is but I kinda doubt it is all that similar.

By the way google has a wonderful patent search function now.
This is the patent in question.
Happy Searching:D
sleepyhollow 1st September 2008, 20:13 Quote
So Sony invented the cd me thinks not

In March 1979, one week after the press conference in which the CD player had been shown to the world, a large Philips delegation set off for Japan. The Japanese Ministry of Industry and Technology (MITI) had decided to convene a conference in which the industry would come together and decide upon a standard for the audio disc. In order to increase the opportunities for the Philips system, it seemed a good idea to collaborate with a Japanese partner. That is why a tight schedule of demonstrations was planned at all leading Japanese electronics companies.



The development of the CD took a decisive turn just before the return journey. The demonstrations in Japan had gone extremely well. As Joop van Tilburg, head of the audio division, was packing his suitcases, he received a telephone call from the president of Sony, Akio Morita. The offer of joint further development was accepted. In the months that followed, Philips and Sony engineers flew backwards and forwards in turn to see each other. Their aim was to agree upon a joint standard for the CD. Both companies would then be able to develop their own products in accordance with this standard.
Amon 1st September 2008, 20:36 Quote
I want to s**t in this guy's mouth.
Spaceraver 1st September 2008, 23:53 Quote
Haha.
1. They sue for something that has been around for decades in terms of electronic devices.
2. They only sue one company that would be big enough to pay big money.
3. There is "previous art" of the aforementioned technology, so the claim should be /dev/null.
4. This lawsuit is so utterly ridiculus that it should result in insta-fail.
Major 2nd September 2008, 00:05 Quote
This is a case of them being too "late".

Yes, it's a valid patent, but, as it's so widely produced and being used by many, doesn't it become kinda "public" or something in that manner i.e. you cannot sue against it.
DarkLord7854 2nd September 2008, 05:39 Quote
Patents are getting rather annoying, specially considering some are so incredibly vague and random.. I think they should have an expire date or something, like, they become void after 5 years or something
pdf27 2nd September 2008, 13:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkLord7854
Patents are getting rather annoying, specially considering some are so incredibly vague and random.. I think they should have an expire date or something, like, they become void after 5 years or something
They do - currently IIRC 20 years, but most expire before that because you have to pay a rather hefty annual fee to keep them current.
1ad7 2nd September 2008, 15:07 Quote
people really need to find better ways to make money, I guess this company is the rejects of the Obgyn suing lawyers.... sad
UrbanMarine 2nd September 2008, 16:11 Quote
Sony lost millions to the company that originally came up with and patiented the Dual-Shock controller.
talladega 2nd September 2008, 20:49 Quote
wasnt that just the rumble technology which is patented by Immersion?
Log in

You are not logged in, please login with your forum account below. If you don't already have an account please register to start contributing.



Discuss in the forums