Streaming boom has Broadcom suing Netflix for infringing its video streaming patents

nanoguy

TS Addict
Staff member

Big streaming platforms like Netflix are benefitting from the coronavirus pandemic that's keeping more and more people indoors, which results in many being glued to their screens for hours on end. And since the average household now pays more for cable than it does for all utilities combined, there might be a surge in subscribers for Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video as a result.

However, it turns out that Broadcom - a silicon giant - is actually more upset about this development than traditional media companies that will inevitably bleed some customers who are looking to reduce their costs.

The chipmaker has sued Netflix for allegedly infringing on eight patents that cover video playback and data transfer technologies. The company believes that "as a direct result of the on-demand streaming services provided by Netflix, the market for traditional cable services that require set top boxes has declined, and continues to decline, thereby substantially reducing Broadcom’s set top box business."

Apparently, Broadcom notified Netflix about this in September 2019 but the latter refused an invitation to negotiate a deal for licensing the former's patents. The tech giant says the content delivery network used by Netflix relies on load balancing techniques and smart playback software, and video encoding subtleties, which are covered by a number of patents dating as far back as 2000.

As noted by Variety, this isn't the first time Broadcom has gone this route. In 2017, the chipmaker sued LG, Vizio, and other smart TV manufacturers as well as rival Mediatek for patent violations, but found no success.

Broadcom is no stranger to patent infringement, but more importantly it has a worrying history of predatory pricing and exclusivity deals on modems and set top boxes that are the subject of an antitrust probe in the EU. Now it's blaming Netflix for putting a dent in sales of Broadcom chips by developing streaming technologies that allowed it to scale to over 167 million subscribers, which is going to be a difficult case.

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wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
I would be really surprised if Broadcom gets anything out of this. Their patent would have to be exceptionally broad (no pun intended).

However, it does not surprise me in the least that Broadcom is trying to win in court - though it seems reasonable to think that their previously unsuccessful court cases would have indicated to them that their chances of success are very limited.
 

Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
You have probably seen these kind of suite's only crop up with their is a surge of business (no matter the reason). It appears that the patent office needs to refine their rules and simply state that companies have 24 months from the point of announcement to file their complaints and after that they can only file for a "fee per copy" that will be reviewed and decided upon by the office. Patent's have gotten out of hand the past two decades and an overhaul of the rules and regulations is long since overdue .....
 
Patent Trolling isn't new. They found no success previously when they tried to sue the TV companies. Likely they will find the same result with the new lawsuit provided the prior precedence.