Google, subsidiaries sued for allegedly infringing on video streaming technology patent

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Oct 2, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) - A California company that has engineered a process of making high-definition quality audio is suing Google and subsidiary YouTube for patent infringement.

Max Sound Corporation, based in Santa Monica, filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Wednesday.

British company Vedanti Systems Limited is a co-plaintiff in the suit.

The named defendants also include On2 Technologies Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Google. The New York-based company develops video compression technologies known as codes.

In its complaint, Max Sound alleges that Google misappropriated proprietary and patented digital video streaming technology owned by VSL. Max Sound acquired licensing rights to VSL’s Optimized Data Transmission Technology to complement its HD Audio Solution.

“This case arises out of Defendants’ willful infringement of U.S. Patent No. 7,974,339 and Defendants’ incorporation of this patented technology into products made, used, sold, offered for sale and/or imported, including but not limited to, VP8, VP9, WebM, YouTube, Google Adsense, Google Play, Google TV, Chromebook, Google Drive, Google Chromecast, Google Play-per-view, Google Glasses, Google+, Google’s Simplify, Google Maps and Google Earth,” the plaintiffs wrote. “In short, Defendants’ infringement pervades virtually every website and product offered by Google and its Defendant subsidiaries.”

They continued, “Despite Google’s well-publicized Code of Conduct -- ‘Don’t be Evil’ -- which it explains is ‘about doing the right thing,’ ‘following the law’ and ‘acting honorably,’ Google, in fact, has an established pattern of conduct that is the exact opposite of its claimed piety.”

The plaintiffs contend that Google executives met with VSL management over several months to discuss the possibility of acquiring the company’s patented technology and other non-patented proprietary methods, which greatly enhance the availability of audio and video files online.

During that time, Google gained access to and received technical guidance regarding VSL’s proprietary technology.

The complaint alleges that soon after the two companies initiated negotiations, Google began implementing VSL’s technology into its own WebM/VP8 video codec without informing VSL, and without compensating it for its use.

The WebM/VP8 video codec is widely used by Google in numerous products and websites, including YouTube, Google TV, the Android operating system and Chrome web browser, improving delivery of video content to desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

“We believe that Google violated its core ‘Don't Be Evil’ mantra, and we intend to hold the company accountable for this conduct,” Max Sound CEO John Blaisure said in a statement.

According to Max Sound’s website, the company’s MAX-D Audio Process “makes everything sound better” and can convert an audio file to high-definition quality while significantly reducing the file size by allowing the user to convert to MP3 or other compressed file types.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at patents@legalnewsline.com.

More News

The Record Network