Fraunhofer hits SiriusXM with patent claim

Germany’s technology research company Fraunhofer has filed a patent infringement action against pay-radio operator SiriusXM.  The writ has been issued in the US District Court in Delaware. The claim goes back to the days of the failed – and now bankrupt – Worldspace satellite radio system.

The claim alleges that the satellite radio broadcaster is using certain multicarrier modulation technologies (MCM) patented by Fraunhofer.

The history of the claim says that Fraunhofer’s MCM was licensed to Worldspace back in 1998 which in turn granted use of the technology to American Mobile Radio Corp (which was later renamed as XM Satellite Radio).

XM and Fraunhofer came to an accepted agreement whereby certain of XM’s transmission technologies relating to its Digital Audio Radio by Satellite (DARS) but the agreement specifically excluded the MCM technology.

After XM merged with Sirius, Worldspace went bankrupt, and in a 2010 arrangement in Bankruptcy Court, the MCM license was rejected, which Fraunhopfer says invalidated not just Wordlspace’s rights but all sub-licenses by 2012 at the latest, putting SiriusXM into an infringement position.

Fraunhofer’s writ argues that when it notified SiriusXM of the situation, the satellite company responded saying that it believed it still had the authority to make use of the technology.

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