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uTorrent, BitTorrent Sued For Patent Infringement

By - Source: Torrent Freak | B 31 comments

Who needs the RIAA and MPAA: a recent lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court could put a serious hurting on BitTorrent.

TorrentFreak has gained access to a lawsuit filed by San Francisco-based Tranz-Send Broadcasting Network against BitTorrent, Inc. claiming that uTorrent and the BitTorrent Mainline client infringes on a file-sharing related patent. The lawsuit was filed at a U.S. District Court this week and seeks monetary compensation for losses the ongoing patent infringement has caused the plaintiff.

According to the lawsuit, BitTorrent is infringing on a patent originally filed back in April 1999. "By making, operating, using and/or selling [uTorrent and BitTorrent Mainline] and or other software, BitTorrent has infringed and continues to infringe, contribute to the infringement, or induce the infringement of at least claim 1 of the ’944 patent," the complaint reads.

Tranz-Send's patent, "Media file distribution with adaptive transmission protocols" which was finally granted in November 2007, describes a file-sharing system consisting of a file database, a transfer client and a distribution server that doesn't necessarily describe the way BitTorrent tosses data around between clients.

"A server/client media file distribution system is provided in which the server system is adapted to receive transmission requests from clients, status information from a network, and protocol information from each client," the company writes in the patent abstract. "The server, based upon this information, adaptively transmits a given media file stored therein to one or more clients using the optimal transmission speed and/or network protocol based on the network status information and protocol information."

In addition to BitTorrent, Inc., the lawsuit is also going after Kontiki Inc. on similar grounds. Unlike BitTorrent which is used by millions of file-sharers worldwide, Kontiki's clientele consists of businesses that use the company's media content delivery system – a hybrid of P2P transfers and central servers – to stream and distribute video. This software also allegedly infringes on Tranz-Send's patent.

As TorrentFreak points out, if BitTorrent is found guilty of patent infringement, the company could be forced to pay royalties for each download made by its more than 100 million users since the P2P protocol went live. This could drastically impact the company's operations and possibly spill over to other BitTorrent software companies and third-parties who use BitTorrent to distribute their legitimate software and media.

Additionally, a negative outcome could have a huge impact on the RIAA and MPAA's current war with BitTorrent users, a long-sought victory if a guilty verdict is indeed ruled on favor of the plaintiff.

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Top Comments
  • 33 Hide
    Blessedman , June 20, 2011 11:09 PM
    Patent Troll. I'm going to patent "A means of transportation that allows for variable acceleration and the ability to stop at any destination the user desires" and sue all the car/truck/bus/boat/bike manufacturer. These are the dumbest patents ever and they shouldn't be allowed.
  • 23 Hide
    BWMerlin , June 21, 2011 12:16 AM
    If patent troll wins does that mean the RIAA and MPAA get to sue patent troll because patent troll allowed its patents to be used to distribute unlawful copies of media?
  • 13 Hide
    jamoise , June 21, 2011 12:25 AM
    Just had a read of their patent, its based on Server/client situation, where all the data still resides on the server, and just receives data back from the clients on better ways to deliver the data. Nowhere does it say that the clients distribute data between each other or a tracker/seed/peer style setup. this has IMO no relation to how bitorrent works and should be thrown out of court
Other Comments
    Display all 31 comments.
  • 33 Hide
    Blessedman , June 20, 2011 11:09 PM
    Patent Troll. I'm going to patent "A means of transportation that allows for variable acceleration and the ability to stop at any destination the user desires" and sue all the car/truck/bus/boat/bike manufacturer. These are the dumbest patents ever and they shouldn't be allowed.
  • 8 Hide
    randomizer , June 20, 2011 11:28 PM
    Even if this is successful, it won't destroy P2P file sharing. I doubt that the average person downloading Linux distributions is going to give a damn about patents from a company that they've never heard of.
  • 12 Hide
    theoldgrumpybear , June 20, 2011 11:35 PM
    Now lets see here... TheP2P technology that the Torrent is based on is older than 1999, but then the US Patent Office neither knows nor cares, especially if somoene has slipped them a few under the table.
  • 23 Hide
    BWMerlin , June 21, 2011 12:16 AM
    If patent troll wins does that mean the RIAA and MPAA get to sue patent troll because patent troll allowed its patents to be used to distribute unlawful copies of media?
  • 12 Hide
    captaincharisma , June 21, 2011 12:24 AM
    BWMerlinIf patent troll wins does that mean the RIAA and MPAA get to sue patent troll because patent troll allowed its patents to be used to distribute unlawful copies of media?


    now thats funny. give someone else the heat from the RIAA and MPAA :) 
  • 13 Hide
    jamoise , June 21, 2011 12:25 AM
    Just had a read of their patent, its based on Server/client situation, where all the data still resides on the server, and just receives data back from the clients on better ways to deliver the data. Nowhere does it say that the clients distribute data between each other or a tracker/seed/peer style setup. this has IMO no relation to how bitorrent works and should be thrown out of court
  • 8 Hide
    jamoise , June 21, 2011 1:06 AM
    BWMerlinIf patent troll wins does that mean the RIAA and MPAA get to sue patent troll because patent troll allowed its patents to be used to distribute unlawful copies of media?


    Reminds me of the women who claimed she owned the sun, and was sending letters to everyone in the world who benefited from the suns energy asking for compensation for using the energy from her sun, well the same thing can be done in reverse, all the people who got sun cancer. crops that die from drought.. should all also sue her for damages.
  • 12 Hide
    bobusboy , June 21, 2011 1:09 AM
    i hate the patent system
  • -5 Hide
    eddieroolz , June 21, 2011 1:11 AM
    I can see how this may negatively influence the company's operations, but I don't see how this can affect the case against MPAA/RIAA. If guilty its patent infringement, not copyright infringement.
  • 9 Hide
    bison88 , June 21, 2011 1:22 AM
    Patenting software is retarded. It's code, a language, do we patent languages now? Patents were meant to protect peoples ideas turned product. I don't see this dipshit with a product, until then patents should be useless. Companies like Rambus making billions off nothing would die in a second.
  • 5 Hide
    alidan , June 21, 2011 1:45 AM
    here is the thing.

    if someone has a product, and they want to patent the innovative way they handle something, than they deserve it, in tech, how many 14-20 year old pieces of tech do we still really use? (14-20 years is how long patent protection lasts)

    lets say that i create a new os, and its damn good because of the way it works. i would seak pattens on the parts that are really good, because i dont want competition to use my ideas and potential outsell me.

    i dont come up with an idea on a crapper, and decide to patent the idea without having any form of a working model at LEAST in development.

    but thats what tech patents more or less are, and thats why pattens need to change for the tech world at the very least.
  • 4 Hide
    JamesSneed , June 21, 2011 2:21 AM
    This patent is referring to files stored centrally on a server which we all know is not how torrents work. Silly troll. Would like to know who is really behind this as the location the patent mentions is 00 Pine St., San Francisco, CA 94108, at phone number 415-263-0949 and it looks to be empty. I smell someone is trying to shut torrents down via a 3rd party so they don't get their hands dirty.
  • 9 Hide
    Kamab , June 21, 2011 2:29 AM
    What a joke. The fact that this doesn't get immediately dismissed is proof our patent laws need fixing.
  • 2 Hide
    alidan , June 21, 2011 2:42 AM
    KamabWhat a joke. The fact that this doesn't get immediately dismissed is proof our patent laws need fixing.

    our non physical tech patents.
    its rare to have actual engineering patents be as BS as this is.
  • 5 Hide
    jalek , June 21, 2011 3:06 AM
    They didn't sue Blizzard as well? Does their torrent system not infringe?
  • 2 Hide
    FloKid , June 21, 2011 3:42 AM
    So torrentfreak will now charge for their torrentz? No legal system would allow for thaaaat.
  • 3 Hide
    wild9 , June 21, 2011 3:54 AM
    Quote:
    Tranz-Send's patent, "Media file distribution with adaptive transmission protocols" which was finally granted in November 2007, describes a file-sharing system consisting of a file database, a transfer client and a distribution server that doesn't necessarily describe the way BitTorrent tosses data around between clients.


    Well, by the looks of things I hope they patented bullshit because they sure seem to be shoveling something.
  • 4 Hide
    rantoc , June 21, 2011 8:16 AM
    Sounds more like the mafIAA try a new strategy to get at the torrent sites and frankly its getting tiresome that they don't care about what the consequences to everyone. The torrent itself is a neutral protocol that allow distribution of ANY file, its up to the person who creates the torrent to include whatever files they want so why not go after them?

    What will the mafIAA attempt next? Try to shut down the internet perhaps, its common protocols http and ftp can be used to send illegal music. Why not the electricity too, it can also be used to play illegal music.

    More and more musicians have started to distribute their own music and i'm greatful for that, knowing the money i spend purchasing their music gets to them, not the organization that only halts progress in the name of proffit!
  • -4 Hide
    back_by_demand , June 21, 2011 10:56 AM
    BlessedmanPatent Troll. I'm going to patent "A means of transportation that allows for variable acceleration and the ability to stop at any destination the user desires" and sue all the car/truck/bus/boat/bike manufacturer. These are the dumbest patents ever and they shouldn't be allowed.

    I take it you only read the title of the patent and not the 750 pages of technical document attached
    ...
    Obviously not
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