After much delay, European music streaming company, Spotify, has finally come to America! It is just in time, too. The streaming music landscape in this country leaves a lot to be desired. They are going to be providing an enormous catalog of music to stream to your computer and mobile devices. They have been in business successfully for 3 years in Europe. With the record labels on board, how could there possibly be any trouble?
Apparently, they have now run into an American tradition: getting sued. PacketVideo, a hold over from the dot com bust of the late ’90′s – early 2000′s, is suing Spotify for infringing on their patents for streaming music. At first blush, it looks like a reasonable claim. They were an early pioneer in the realm of streaming music. However, you must look into the details to see it is a sham. The patent claim is for a “Device for the distribution of music information in digital form.” That sounds a bit broad to me. You can read the rest of the claim over at Techdirt to get the full details of the patent filing.
You know how it goes in this country. The patent laws overwhelmingly support vague, over-broad patents that could potentially cover just about anything. The biggest problem with this is how it affects innovation. People tend to have a problem with getting sued every time they come up with a good idea. Patents that are vague tend to cause problems for everyone. It is as if I came up with the idea for rising dough, so I go out and sue anyone who makes bread. This just proves the old axiom that states: “If you can’t innovate, then litigate.” I wish Spotify good luck, and to be sure to stay out of the U.S. court in the Eastern District of Texas.