SiriusXM facing Worldspace patent problems

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US pay-radio operator SiriusXM is facing further problems in an argument with Germany’s Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft over a dispute which concerns SiriusXM’s technology on its satellite radio transmissions.

Fraunhofer had filed a patent infringement against Sirius in February 2017 alleging that the satellite service is using certain multicarrier modulation (MCM) technologies covered by Fraunhofer patents.

The patents were originally licensed to Worldspace, a would-be global satellite radio operator which failed spectacularly with debts of $2.12 billion in 2008.

The suit argued that its licence, granted to Worldspace and then to American Mobile Corp (a predecessor to XM Satellite Radio) was wrapped up in a deal where Fraunhofer engineered XM’s DARS technology (Digital Audio Radio Service) but which specifically excluded usage of Fraunhofer’s MCM system.

Fraunhofer states, in its 2017 action, that with the Worldspace bankruptcy the MCM license was invalidated with all its sub-licenses affected placing SiriusXM in an unlicensed position.

SiriusXM, in simple terms, argued that it still had authority to use the technology.

The latest position is that in 2018 there was a judgement which dismissed the Fraunhofer claim. That has now been revived by a US Court of Appeals. The Court’s panel of judges that that the 2018 decision was wrong.

This appeal will now be reheard.


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