Google and YouTube is being sued by the Max Sound Corporation in the District Court of Mannheim and the hearing scheduled for the 8 December 2015. According to German practice, the hearing will close on the same day and a court decision will occur a few weeks later. The case from Max Sound Corporation is because of an alleged infringement of a video streaming patent, valid for the world’s most important markets. The Max Sound Corporation requested the German court to prevent Google and YouTube from streaming video via the current VP8 or H.264 video codecs, and to stop selling video-enabled devices (including the Chromecast unit and Nexus smartphones and tablets); Max Sound Corporation have also requested information about profits and that both Google and YouTube are declared liable for damages based on these patent infringements. The claim is that Google and YouTube are using video streaming technology protected by European Patent EP 2 026 277, which allows for the far more economically efficient transport of digital content due to greatly optimized data capacity. It’s this technology that Max Sound corporation claim is embedded into both H.264 and VP8 video streaming standards, which as you might expect is used by both Google and YouTube.
Max Sound Corporation is the inventor of the MAX-D HD Audio Standard and holds the worldwide license of the patent, owned by Vedanti Systems. Both Max Sound Corporation and VSL have successfully enforced this patent. At the IFA, International Consumer Electronics Fair Berlin in 2014, Max Sound persuaded the The District Court of Berlin to grant provisional injunctions prohibiting two suppliers of Android devices to promote their products at this consumer electronics trade fair. We also remember how in 2010, Google showed an interest in acquiring VSL, presumably for the insight and video streaming technologies. VSL are claiming that Google used insight gleaned from these meetings to drive how to improve the video compression of YouTube although it’s not clear when the H.264 and VP8 standards started to violate the patent. The patent is supported by all of the major web browsers.
The Chief Executive Officer of Max Sound Corporation, John Blaisure, said this on the matter: “We are pleased that our lawsuit against Google and YouTube has been admitted in Germany and that the court hearing will take place in a few months. In view of the evidence submitted we are confident, that we can expect an enforceable decision. This is an important step in safeguarding and protecting our valuable intellectual property.”
We have six months before the case is due and a lot of newsflow: we are expecting a new version of Android and hopefully some new products to run the operating system on, plus we are sure that Google has plenty of other projects in the works. It is also possible that Google will settle out of court with VSL and the Max Sound Corporation. This is a developing story and we will keep you in the loop.