SiriusXM’s Pandora has officially emerged victorious from a lengthy patent infringement lawsuit over playlist technology, but the plaintiff is already appealing.
Digital Music News first reported on the courtroom showdown in August 2020, when plaintiff, Texas-based Bluebonnet Internet Media Services, first filed a lawsuit against Pandora. In short, Bluebonnet argued in the original lawsuit that the streaming service defendant infringed a trio of patents (#9,405,753, #9,547,650, and #9,779,095) relating to curating playlists. personalized based on listener preferences and input. .
“The patents do not describe abstract ideas,” according to the original action, “but a particular inventive solution to the problem of creating a large-scale media delivery system that provides customization[d] multimedia listening experience to a user.
And those patents, it should also be noted, were first obtained by a (now defunct) streaming service called Friskit. The latter arrived on the scene in 1999 and decided to obtain his first provisional patent in early 2000, with Bluebonnet assuming ownership of this intellectual property and others after the startup ceased operations.
Additionally, Friskit failed in a patent lawsuit against RealNetworks and reportedly finalized “a confidential settlement agreement in 2011” to pursue separate action with Microsoft, Bluebonnet’s complaint states.
But as mentioned at the start, the court ruled in favor of Pandora, stating that the patents are “invalid”.
“These claims may capture the heart of a good business idea. But they are directed at an abstract idea and lack an inventive concept — and are therefore invalid,” U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria wrote, citing a Supreme Court decision of 2014 and communicating that one cannot patent abstract ideas, “because a patent on an abstract idea would monopolize the “building blocks of human ingenuity”.
“Bluebonnet’s patent claims describe a system for customizing media playlists based on a person’s preferences. … Tailoring products to taste is a long-standing practice and one of the building blocks of human ingenuity that cannot be patented per se,” the court concluded.
Similarly, the judge determined that patents for abstract ideas may nevertheless be valid with the presence of an “inventive concept”. However, “the claims do not contain any inventive concept that adds much more to the abstract idea,” according to the decision.
Bluebonnet does not appear to have publicly commented on the development, but the entity quickly appealed once again. Meanwhile, Pandora has reached out to DMN with an official statement regarding the win.
“Pandora is pleased with the outcome and thanks the court and its staff for their efforts,” a Pandora spokesperson said. “As this case shows, Pandora will not fall victim to the re-engineering tactics of non-practicing entities and will vigorously defend itself against baseless allegations.”