Zap Media, an Atlanta-based media services company, is finally suing Apple over iTunes and the iPod. At first blush, it would seem as if the group is nothing but another patent squatter trying to broaden the definitions of intellectual property, but a little digging shows that the company might actually have a case, though a tough one.
At issue is pattent number 7020704, which is a “System and method for distributing media assets to user devices via a portal synchronized by said user devices.” Further, the abstract describes it as:
A system and method for distributing digital media assets to a plurality of users. A portal is provided comprising at least one server computer. The portal executes a media library database server application that manages access a master library of media assets that can be accessed by users via one or more communication networks. A plurality of media player devices communicate with the portal to access media assets for use. Each media player device may comprise a processor that executes a database client application that manages media assets licensed for use by a user.
That certainly sounds like iTunes and iPod, and even Apple TV, does it not?
This suit has teeth, and Apple’s lawyers may have to get creative. But make no mistake, this isn’t just another group trying to profit off someone else’s sales, this could be a tough suit to settle.