Apple, AT&T sued over ties to Shazam music ID service

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple, AT&T and several others have been named in a new patent infringement lawsuit, presumably for their connection to Shazam, a maker of music identification software distributed under the same name for the iPhone and several other mobile devices.



The 8-page complaint, filed Tuesday by Tune Hunter, Inc. in the patent litigation-friendly Marshall Division of Texas, broadly alleges that nearly a dozen tech companies are contributing to infringement of is US patent No. 6,941,275 for a "Music identification system" granted in September of 2005.



When it originally lodged its patent application with the USPTO nine years ago, the little-known firm described its invention as relating "to 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."



The concept is strikingly similar to technology delivered by Shazam's popular namesake application for the iPhone, BlackBerry and G1 handsets, which helps users identify songs playing in their surroundings by capturing a sample of the track, analyzing it, and then comparing it with a remote database based on its acoustic footprint. If a song is correctly identified, users are presented with links to iTunes and Amazon -- another named defendant -- which they can use to immediately purchase the song.



In its complaint, Tune Hunter doesn't specify its gripes with each individual defendant. Instead, it charges them broadly with contributing to the infringement or inducing the infringement of its patent "by making, using, selling and/or offering to sell, and/or causing others to use [...] music identification systems and/or devices that are covered by one or more claims" of its patent.



The company, which is seeking that each defendant pay damages, attorneys' fees, and be enjoined from further infringement, claims to have notified "at least one or more" of those defendants about its patent, but says those parties took no action and continued their "willful and deliberate" infringement.



Shazam is available as a free music identification app for the iPhone.



Among the other defendants named in the suit are Samsung, Napster, Motorola, Gracenote, LG Electronics, Pantech Wireless, and Cellco Partnership (doing business as Verizon Wireless).
«134

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 69
    jimzipjimzip Posts: 444member
    I'm gonna sue Tune Hunter for emotional distress.



    Jimzip
  • Reply 2 of 69
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    Shazam is an amazing thing, so I don't blame these guys for trying to argue they thought of it first, but it sure doesn't sound like the same thing at all to me.



    The description of their patent idea here:
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ... 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. ...



    Sounds to me like what they patented was the idea of taking note of the time it was played and on what station so that their "service" (which was presumably never started or even designed yet), can look it up and tell you what it was that was playing. There is really nothing here to suggest that this is really that similar to Shazam, which analyses the song itself, and doesn't care what source it came from or what time it was played.
  • Reply 3 of 69
    ajmasajmas Posts: 558member
    I never understand why people like this go after everyone and the aunt? Surely simply suing Shazam should be enough?
  • Reply 4 of 69
    foobarfoobar Posts: 103member
    I guess that is a problem of becoming the mandatory publisher for all iPhone software.
  • Reply 5 of 69
    parkyparky Posts: 383member
    Shazam does not work in the same way, it uses a sample of the music and compares it to a database.



    The other 'idea' uses the date/time/radio station to find the track on the internet.
  • Reply 6 of 69
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,613member
    Does Tune Hunter have a product? There should be a ruling that no patent can be filed until a working product exists and no claim will be accepted unless the litigator's product can be demonstrated.



    Tune Hunter doesn't even seem to have a web site.
  • Reply 7 of 69
    jimzipjimzip Posts: 444member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by parky View Post


    Shazam does not work in the same way, it uses a sample of the music and compares it to a database.



    The other 'idea' uses the date/time/radio station to find the track on the internet.



    Exactly. Is there something I'm missing here or are these guys just another money-grabbing bunch of jerks? The description resembles Shazam's functionality somewhat, but even if that's so, there's no reason to go a huntin for all other companies that are even remotely tied to the Shazam service....



    Someone more legal minded than me (ie, everyone...) care to take a dig at this one?



    Jimzip
  • Reply 8 of 69
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Shazam is one of my favorite apps. It, plus the new iTS purchase over AT&T has made me an iTunes music store customer for the first time since its launch.
  • Reply 9 of 69
    missiongreymissiongrey Posts: 204member
    They move Marshall Division of Texas start a claim and hope to win.



    This one seems seems like an easy win, for all involved. The Tune Hunters should change their name to Fund Hunters
  • Reply 10 of 69
    istinkistink Posts: 250member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post


    Does Tune Hunter have a product? There should be a ruling that no patent can be filed until a working product exists and no claim will be accepted unless the litigator's product can be demonstrated.



    Tune Hunter doesn't even seem to have a web site.



    Dude that's exactly what I was thinking. We should all start filing for patents on the craziest futuristic ideas we can think of, then someday, even though we don't make any product whatsoever, we can sue anyone who turns our idea into reality!



    Rocket shoes, banana cameras, touch screen dildos, spring loaded beer, invisible gum, computers for dogs, french fry gardens, fingernail polish clocks, solar powered lifeguard robots. These are all things I came up with off the top of my head in 5 seconds, imagine how rich we could be some day if we hold the patents long enough!



    I wonder if some old man will come forward one day, holding a paper proving he filed for a patent, screaming, "I invented cell phones!"
  • Reply 11 of 69
    jake_11jake_11 Posts: 35member
    I am tired of this attitude in America of sue until you get rich. It seems like no one wants to do anything in order to make money. They wait for someone to actually develop a product and then ask to collect royalties. This ends up adding cost to products that we buy everyday.



    I think the judge should ask to see the research and product testing from tune hunter. if tune hunter actually has done any research or developed the technology to do so, they might have a case. if they came up with a loose idea without any technology, too bad for them. IMO.
  • Reply 12 of 69
    tumme-tottetumme-totte Posts: 147member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iStink View Post


    ... I wonder if some old man will come forward one day, holding a paper proving he filed for a patent, screaming, "I invented cell phones!"



    Would be funnier with the wheel...
  • Reply 13 of 69
    missiongreymissiongrey Posts: 204member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iStink View Post


    Dude that's exactly what I was thinking. We should all start filing for patents on the craziest futuristic ideas we can think of, then someday, even though we don't make any product whatsoever, we can sue anyone who turns our idea into reality!



    Rocket shoes, banana cameras, touch screen dildos, spring loaded beer, invisible gum, computers for dogs, french fry gardens, fingernail polish clocks, solar powered lifeguard robots. These are all things I came up with off the top of my head in 5 seconds, imagine how rich we could be some day if we hold the patents long enough!



    I wonder if some old man will come forward one day, holding a paper proving he filed for a patent, screaming, "I invented cell phones!"





    I call: Helicopter ejection seat, solar powered flash light, glow in the dark sunglasses, invisible diamonds.
  • Reply 14 of 69
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,762member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MissionGrey View Post


    I call: Helicopter ejection seat, solar powered flash light, glow in the dark sunglasses, invisible diamonds.





    I've long ago tired of the inevitable "I patented air!!!" rants that follow these articles, but this is funny...
  • Reply 15 of 69
    bigmc6000bigmc6000 Posts: 767member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post




    I've long ago tired of the inevitable "I patented air!!!" rants that follow these articles, but this is funny...



    I call "Air" - with a capital A !! hahah. Nike - you owe me eleventy billion dollars!
  • Reply 16 of 69
    axualaxual Posts: 244member
    Coming up with an idea is simple. So is filing a patent. Delivering a product which works is the hard part. I have some advise for Tune Hunter: retract the lawsuit. You will lose.
  • Reply 17 of 69
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    You are kidding right? Shazam doesn't have any money. Furthermore, companies like Apple made money from the sale, thereby benefiting from the alleged infringement. With that said, as another poster commented, the Patent doesn't seem to be the same thing to me.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ajmas View Post


    I never understand why people like this go after everyone and the aunt? Surely simply suing Shazam should be enough?



  • Reply 18 of 69
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bigmc6000 View Post


    I call "Air" - with a capital A !! hahah. Nike - you owe me eleventy billion dollars!



    Hilarity aside, you can't get a patent on a thing or even an idea, you can only get a patent on an implementation.



    In this case, it sounds like the basic idea (using teh internets to identify songs), is the same, but the implementation is totally different.



    So, yeah ... total fail.
  • Reply 19 of 69
    trajectorytrajectory Posts: 647member
    I don't think Tune Hunter has much of a leg to stand on, as the technology they describe as owning is different than what Shazam is doing. Looks like a money-grab to me, hence throwing out such a wide net and suing every company involved with music.



    I predict Tune Hunter will lose, if this even makes it to a trial.
  • Reply 20 of 69
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    Unfortunately, our patent system is so messed up that you can actually just sit around all day making up wild ideas, patent them, never make any effort to bring them to life, and sit back hoping somebody infringes the idea.



    WIth that said, I don't think Apple infringes the stated patent.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by axual View Post


    Coming up with an idea is simple. So is filing a patent. Delivering a product which works is the hard part. I have some advise for Tune Hunter: retract the lawsuit. You will lose.



Sign In or Register to comment.