Patent Troll Files Lawsuit Against Netflix, Vimeo & Others; Claims Patent Over Download Features, Offline PlayBack
Blackbird Technologies filed a lawsuit over patent breach for offline download feature against Netflix, Vimeo and three other companies. Netflix introduced the feature two months ago.
Blackbird, who is considered a patent troll, filed the lawsuit against several media streaming giants for allegedly using features of their company. Under technical definition, patent trolls are entities that does not produce any services nor tangible products. However, they applied for patents so that they can profit by filing cases later on against actual companies who "breached" them.
Netflix and Vimeo are not the only companies that suffered the lawsuit but also Mubi, Soundcard, Starz and Studio 3 Partners, IBTimes reported. Blackbird claims that they own patents for these features and the defendants intentionally duplicated them.
There is an actual precedent in this case that pertains to Patent 362. Ars Technica reported that legit companies went through payouts and cash settlements due to patents issues before. This time around, the case was filed at Delaware Federal Court.
Netflix introduced the download feature in November and immediately received positive feedbacks from those who want to catch their missed shows. The feature is especially helpful for those who want to download the content and watch them later when they are not connected to the internet.
Download and offline playback works when users can see a download button next to the content they are playing. This feature is available for both Android and iOS versions. For other defendants; Vimeo, Soundcard and other also see their current media and playlist when online then continue playback when there is no internet.
The feature is for limited contents for now but the media company stressed that they plan to expand on other shows in the future. However, it is unclear whether the lawsuit will affect Netflix's expansion plans.
Netflix and co-defendants have not yet answered the plaintiff's accusation. It is also unclear if they will meet Blackbird head on in Delaware court or they will avoid the hassle and opt for out of court settlement.