Radio groups deny patent infringement


Seven radio groups have each filed their responses to a lawsuit claiming patent infringement by a company purporting to hold the rights to accessing music from hard drives for broadcast. Not surprisingly, all of the broadcasters say they are not guilty.

The lawsuit filed by Mission Abstract Data, LLC (d/b/a DigiMedia) claimed that radio stations owned by the seven groups are infringing on patents filed in 1994 and 1997 for the idea of using “all-digital, computer-hard-drive-based systems for music storage and delivery at FM and AM stations.”

Beasley Broadcasting, CBS Radio, Cox Radio, Cumulus, Entercom, Greater Media and Townsquare Media all filed separate replies to the lawsuit, but their responses are quite similar. Each says DigiMedia let too many years lapse without making any attempt to enforce its purported patents, that their stations do not infringe on any enforceable portion of the patents and that the patents simply aren’t valid.

The most unusual part of the filings by the seven defendants is that they ask the federal court to treat this as an “exceptional case,” whereby the court could order DigiMedia to pay all of the defendants’ costs because the plaintiff “knew or should have known” that its patent claims were bogus.

RBR-TVBR observation: At this point in the litigation the broadcasters have not had to spell out why they believe the patent claims are not valid. No doubt their attorneys have been gathering evidence to prove what RBR-TVBR reported in our original story: That the technology was already in wide-spread use before the patent applications were filed.