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U.S. Judge Invalidates Acacia’s Remaining Claims

 U.S. Judge Invalidates Acacia’s Remaining Claims
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Sep 30, 2009 1:00 PM PDT    Text size: 
SAN JOSE, Calif. — After years of litigation, a federal judge has invalidated Acacia Media Technologies remaining patent claims against the Adult Defense Group and other companies.

Friday’s patent-busting ruling by U.S. District Judge James Ware involved 10 claims relative to Acacia’s family of patents on audio and video transmission and receiving systems, or streaming media.

Ware said that the asserted patent claims are invalid “because they lack an ascertainable scope” and granted the defense’s motion for summary judgment.

Ware ordered attorneys back in the courtroom on Oct. 9 to finalize a summary judgment.

The case reaches all the way back to 2002, when Acacia began sending out media packets to online adult companies asserting that the companies were violating patents associated with its Digital Media Transmission technology, which Acacia claimed covered virtually any manner of transmitting and receiving digital and audio content over the Internet.

Although Acacia was able to secure settlements from a number of adult companies, other companies fought back, and eventually coalesced into the united Adult Defense Group effort, spearheaded by Homegrown Video parent company New Destiny Internet Group.

The suit eventually was consolidated with other companies that have employed streaming media, including Echostar, DirectTV, Time Warner Cable and CSC Holdings Inc.

Cindy Cohn, legal director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said Ware’s decision was a correct one.

“We’re pleased about the ruling,” she told XBIZ. “Acacia’s patent on streaming media has been on the EFF’s ‘10 Most Wanted List,’ which lists patents that are egregious and have free-speech implications.”

Quentin Boyer, a Top Bucks executive and long-time industry observer and journalist, said that he wasn’t surprised Acacia's claims have been invalidated.

“From the beginning, many observers and legal experts felt that the claims were too vague and broad to be enforceable, and the expectation was that the court would eventually come to the same conclusion," he told XBIZ.

“It was unreal how awful some of the [claims] were — pretty close to saying ‘anything and everything video related online is covered by our patent.’”

Representatives of Acacia were not available for comment by post time. Acacia is expected to appeal Ware’s ruling.

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