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Microsoft in patent suit over Zune HD's buy-from-radio

updated 04:20 pm EDT, Mon March 29, 2010

Zune HD radio suit could affect iPod too

Microsoft late last week was sued for allegedly infringing on patents with the Zune HD's radio app. Illinois-based Edward Yavitz has claimed that the buy-from-radio feature, which lets users tag identified songs on FM or HD Radio and buy them from the Zune Marketplace, copies similar technology that Yavitz patented in 2002. He purportedly contacted Microsoft unsuccessfully about licensing the technology early and billed it as a way of preempting Apple.

"THIS IS ALL POSSIBLE AND PATENTED ... SO IPOD [sic] and Google CAN'T DO IT, but Microsoft can, if you take the time to talk to me," one message to Microsoft read in 2006. It wasn't until late 2008 that the second-generation, non-touch Zune gained song tagging from FM, but that device is largely unavailable.

Microsoft is aware of the lawsuit but hasn't commented whether it plans to fight the case or reach for a settlement. Most such lawsuits are contested at least early on.

The lawsuit has potential ramifications for Apple, which has implemented a similar feature in some cases. The fifth-generation iPod nano can buy songs that are identified by RDS text and tagged. Some third-party audio systems, up to and including Ford's 2010 cars, also implement iTunes Tagging as a way of flagging songs to buy when the lack of an Internet connection or the environment prevent an immediate purchase.

Yavitz hasn't said whether he plans to target Apple or any other media player designers.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001



    Is this guy an idiot or just incompetent? Or maybe his lawyer is incompetent and an idiot! You don't sue Microsoft over this stuff. No one owns a Zune, so there's no money to be made from infringement. You're supposed to always sue Apple in these cases. I think it's a law or something.

  1. rvhernandez

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2005



    Move along, nothing to see. Just some a$$ sitting on a vague idea until someone with a pocketbook does something close enough to sue.

  1. jdonahoe

    Junior Member

    Joined: Jul 2006


    Business as usual for Microsoft

    This is always the way it works with Microsoft, show them something useful (in this case, patented) and then wait for them to incorporate it without any credit or payment. Duh!

    And don't counter with Xerox Parc, that was a near freebie.

  1. chas_m



    I know its easy ...

    ... to claim that MS stole this guy's patent/technology, everyone hear is *naturally* inclined to think the worst of MS in this regard, but having PERSONALLY WITNESSED Microsoft steal ideas from companies that gave presentations to them (hoping to sell their technology), I'm quite inclined to believe this guy, even if he is a poor speller (and is so unfamiliar with Apple that he confuses them with iPods).

    MS has been been found guilty of this behaviour in court before, and for every court case they've lost there are a thousand other devs or inventors who didn't have the resources to fight in court or protect their patent.

    So while we have to wait and see whether this particular case has any merit, let me put this this way: if it turns out to be true, I'd be as shocked as if you told me Ricky Martin was g**.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: Business as usual

    Yeah, why don't they do it the Apple way. Steal other people's ideas and sic the fanatics on them when they complain (a'la "Apple didn't steal Dashboard from Konfabulator! The former is javascript based, the latter EXEs. They're completely different!" to "They didn't steal Sherlock 2's idea from Watson. It was the obvious next step!").

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