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Music Choice claims Stingray patent breach

Canadian pay-music operator Stingray Digital Group is being sued by digital music operator Music Choice which is alleging infringements of four of its patents.

Music Choice is owned by Sony, Comcast and Time Warner amongst others and is alleging that Stingray is abusing its patents covering onscreen displays of music and song-related visuals and related supplementary facts.

Music Choice is also arguing that Stingray obtained access to its confidential information as part of discussions that took place ahead of a potential acquisition of Music Choice. Music Choice is asking for an injunction barring Stingray from using the infringed patents.

Stingray’s responding statement says: “Although Stingray is in the process of analyzing the claims made in the complaint, including the validity of the patents asserted by Music Choice, Stingray believes that the Music Choice allegations are simply not relevant: Stingray does not use (much less infringe) the Music Choice patents.  Given the significant inroads that Stingray has made in the U.S. market with its industry-changing technology, Stingray believes that Music Choice’s complaint is without merit and primarily motivated by competitive concerns rather than a desire to protect its intellectual property.  Stingray believes that Music Choice’s actions are a desperate attempt to disrupt how enthusiastically customers have embraced Stingray’s innovative product offering alleging infringement of certain claims. Stingray intends to vigorously defend itself against this action.”

Dave Del Beccaro, President and CEO of Music Choice stated: “Music Choice has invested a lot of time and money developing innovative products for our customers.  We have gone through great measures to secure patents for our intellectual property and feel compelled to take legal action to protect our business investment.   Stingray must compete fairly in the marketplace without using Music Choice’s proprietary, patented technology in blatant violation of our intellectual property rights.  While competition and innovation in our industry will undoubtedly provide benefits to our customers, the competition must be fair and the innovation original.  Stingray’s unauthorized and infringing use of technology developed and patented by Music Choice is detrimental, not only to Music Choice, but to our customers and the industry as a whole.”

Music Choice claims 47 million listeners in the US. Stingray says it reaches an estimated 400 million pay-TV subscribers with its video or music services.

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