updated 04:05 pm EDT, Tue July 1, 2014
Services like MLB At Bat, WatchESPN under the gun
Apple pushed organizations like Major League Baseball and ESPN to adopt its HTTP live streaming (HLS) technology, and in so doing caused them to infringe on an Emblaze patent, a lawyer for the latter party claimed today at the start of a federal trial. The patent in question was issued in 2002; Emblaze says that it covers delivering live-streaming video over wireless networks. Apple began work on HLS "no earlier than 2007," according to the Emblaze attorney, and asked services like MLB At Bat and WatchESPN to switch to the format to improve sales of iOS devices, since they can't handle other standards like Flash.
"Apple's HLS is nothing more than Emblaze's patented solution under a different name," said the lawyer, Martin Pavane, during the trial's opening statements. In his own statement, an attorney for Apple -- Mark Fowler -- charged that Apple's success has made it a target for companies like Emblaze, which he calls a failure "trying to make up for that lack of success in the courtroom." The Israeli firm once produced its own audio products, and then tried to sell its technology to wireless carriers and phone companies.
Fowler explained that Apple is hoping to prove that the Emblaze patent is invalid, and that none of the streaming services cited by the plaintiff are infringing. Before the trial, US District Judge Paul Grewal limited the case's scope to seven services.