Emblaze fails to sue Apple for $511m

Apple lawyers accuse Emblaze of "patent trolling" in the latest courtroom saga.

Apple has been involved in many turbulent and highly publicized legal battles over the years. The company has been in several court cases involving rival Samsung, and - more recently - it has fought off another lawsuit from an Israeli company.

On July 1, Apple's lawyers began their courtroom fight in San Jose, California, in a case worth $511 million, in which Emblaze was accusing Apple of patent infringement. A verdict was reached on Friday after almost two weeks, and the jury reached a unanimous verdict against Emblaze.

The Israeli company accused Apple of infringing US Patent No. 6,389,473, titled "Network Media Streaming", which it insisted was used in Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) protocol; Ars Technica says the HLS protocol was built into iPhones and iPads since the iOS 3.0 release in 2009. Emblaze accused Apple Keynotes and the iTunes Festival, among others, of using Network Media Streaming in violation of their patent.

​Apps found on Apple products, produced by the likes of ABC News, ESPN, Major League Baseball and the National Football League were also accused of using the technology.

In response, Apple lawyers fiercely rejected these claims, saying that Emblaze was a failed business "trying to make up for that lack of success in the courtroom". They added that Emblaze now existed to “just sue companies,” referring to ongoing court proceedings against Microsoft over an alleged breach of the same patent, in a case that has been ongoing since 2012.

Emblaze lawyers said they were not “patent trolls”, referencing annual revenues running to hundreds of millions of dollars in 2008. However, the company brought in just $1.9m in revenue in 2013, somewhat undermining their claims.

Source: Ars Technica | Image via Gigaom

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16 Comments

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As someone who's followed the UK tech sector for a fair number of years (where Emblaze is a listed company), in my opinion, I wouldn't describe Emblaze as a patent troll. Back in 1999/2000 during the tech boom Emblaze (or Geo Interactive Media as it was called then) was a multi-billion dollar company in the FTSE100. The value placed on it was on the back its video streaming technology/this patent. In the late 90s one needed something like Real Player or MS Media Player to stream a video. Emblaze's technology allowed one to stream a video, instantly, on any device with a web browser. The investment community placed a huge value on the technology, and various websites used Emblaze's technology for what were probably some of the first video adverts. However, they were never successful in commercialising the technology, and perhaps should have been more hawkish in defending their patent much earlier.

There were two main findings in this case.
1. Apple were found not to have infringed...so no royalities/damages to be paid.
2. The patent was found not to be invalid.

Emblaze have another court case going on, with the same patent, against Microsoft. Given that the patent was validated I guess there's a chance they may decided to continue this action. I presume in this case Apple showed that their method of streaming was different enough not to have infringed Emblaze's patent. Has certainly been an interesting case to follow.

bobble1 said,
Emblaze (or Geo Interactive Media as it was called then) was a company in the FTSE100.

Sorry, just checked my records and it reached the brink of the FTSE100...didn't quite make it. Where's the edit function in this forum when you need it. :)

bobble1 said,

Sorry, just checked my records and it reached the brink of the FTSE100...didn't quite make it. Where's the edit function in this forum when you need it. :)

The edit button is at the left of the Quote button (you must hover the mouse). However, it is available for 15 minutes.

And for the company, it is the first time that i hear about them.

Brony said,

The edit button is at the left of the Quote button (you must hover the mouse). However, it is available for 15 minutes.

And for the company, it is the first time that i hear about them.


Yes the Edit button is there..... but it does not work if I post using WP ( IE desktop mode enabled). Quite annoying.

I would have thought the declining revenues would have helped their case as it shows how this being used for free affects their business. It seems the courts these days seem to side with the fruity one quite regularly though

-T- said,
I would have thought the declining revenues would have helped their case as it shows how this being used for free affects their business. It seems the courts these days seem to side with the fruity one quite regularly though

In case you have not noted the company is suing MS too.....

There is a very easy way to stop this patent trolling crap - up the risks of suing someone.

Make it so that, if you lose a patent battle in court, you also lose the patent.

Brian M. said,
There is a very easy way to stop this patent trolling crap - up the risks of suing someone.

Make it so that, if you lose a patent battle in court, you also lose the patent.

Aren't many patents invalidated as a direct result of judgements in these cases?

Not all, but I suspect quite a few are.

Besides, there is a cost to losing, paying the other sides' legal costs.

boo_star said,

Aren't many patents invalidated as a direct result of judgements in these cases?

Not all, but I suspect quite a few are.

Besides, there is a cost to losing, paying the other sides' legal costs.


Many are.. and outside the US, if you lose you pay winners court costs.. It's why this nonsense doesn't happen in most of the rest of the world.

"trying to make up for that lack of success in the courtroom" - So pretty much every silicone valley/cupertino company out there

B0mberman said,
"trying to make up for that lack of success in the courtroom" - So pretty much every silicone valley/cupertino company out there

Right, because Apple have no successful products at all, they're just on life support right now, propped up by courtroom battles.

techbeck said,
When has that ever stopped anyone.

But apple is not anyone rather they are a company and in there, not a single person makes a call and when money is not yours, then the person responsible for making calls, dont have any reason to steal and save for that matter