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Shazam Settles Patent Infringement Case With Tune Hunter

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In May 2009, Texas-based Tune Hunter sued Shazam Entertainment over alleged patent infringement along with a host of other companies that it claimed was benefiting directly from it.

The list included consumer electronics makers like LG, Apple and Motorola, digital music retailers such as Amazon.com and Napster as well as wireless service operators AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

According to Law360 (paywall), Shazam has recently become the first defendant to settle Tune Hunter’s claims. Details of the settlement remain confidential, although both parties will bear their own attorneys’ fees, according to the judge’s approval order.

Tune Hunter / Remi Swierczek had sued Shazam and 10 other companies based on a patent (6,941,275) it had filed back in 2005, which revolves around a music identification system.

The patent related to methods of identifying songs using cellphones or other electronic devices, which is exactly what Shazam is all about. The London company, founded in 2002, has developed technology that enables millions of music lovers to identify tunes anywhere using their mobile phones.

Tune Hunter’s patent covered “a music identification/purchasing system, specifically to a method for marking the time and the name of the radio station in portable device such as a key holder, watch, cellular phone, beeper or the like which will allow the user to learn via internet or regular telephone the name of the song, artist and/or music company by matching the stored data with broadcast archive.”

Sounds eerily close to Shazam’s core proposition indeed.

The ten other defendants in this case have attempted to end their involvement, though not through settlement, according to Law360. Defendants Napster, AT&T, Pantech Wireles and LG Electronics filed motions in December to dismiss the suit for “failure to meet heightened pleading standards or assert a basis for infringement”. Defendant Gracenote filed a similar motion in November.

All dismissal motions remain pending.

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