Monday, May 18, 2009

Shazam! See you in court

Shazam - that handy little thing which lets your phone tell you what you're listening to - is getting sued, along with several companies which use their technology:

Shazam is named along with Samsung, Apple,, Napster, Motorola, Gracenote, Verizon Wireless, LG Electronics, AT&T Mobility, and Pantech Wireless in a suit filed Tuesday over U.S. Patent No. 6,941,275, which was issued to Remi Swierczek/Tune Hunter in September 2005. The suit accuses Shazam's music discovery and identification service of violating the patent and the other companies of benefiting directly from Shazam's alleged infringement.

That patent:
Tune Hunter's patent covers "a music identification/purchasing system, specifically to a method for marking the time and the name of the radio station in portable device such as a key holder, watch, cellular phone, beeper or the like which will allow the user to learn via internet or regular telephone the name of the song, artist and/or music company by matching the stored data with broadcast archive."

How did they get a patent for that when, erm, Shazam has been running since about 2002?


Olive said...

Bunch of chancers hoping for an out of court settlement, presumably. Surely any reasonable court will throw it out because of 'prior art'. Where did they file? West Texas. Oh dear. Not to cast aspersions on the legal system on Texas, isn't that where most patent trolling cases are presented?

Ner said...

Although the patent didn't issue until 2005, Swierczek filed his earliest patent application in 1999.
The claims (which define the scope of protection) seem to pretty much describe the Shazam process as I understand it.
It'll be interesting to see how this one plays out.

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