Patent Monkey: More on Netflix Internet Movie Streaming

. The Netflix goal “to get to every Internet-connected screen, from cell phones to PCs to plasma screens.” For now, they offer an applet with streaming video viewing in 10-15 seconds from starting up with higher quality based on the bandwidth of the consumer.

Netflix’s long standing patent fued with Blockbuster may reach new levels. With a relatively small patent portfolio, they do have a stake in not only rental mail-to-home DVD’s, but a more broadly phrased delivery which “may be any medium for transferring data between customer and provider and the invention is not limited to any particular medium. Examples include, without limitation, a network such as a LAN, WAN or the Internet, a telecommunications link, a wire or optical link or a wireless connection.” What Netflix is not protected against is ‘buy and download’ services like Apple, CinemaNow and others, nor can it fend off video on demand services by cable providers such as Comcast. What Netflix can do is make it hard for other players to maintain an online rental queue with electronic delivery of a specified number of movies at one time. Clearly a bet on Netflix is a bet on consumers enjoying making a prefernce list, and having it available to them when they are ready to watch a rented movie, which has to compete with Video on Demand long term.

For now, on roughly $140 million in annual advertising expenditure, positive operating cash flow, and Blockbuster losing money to keep up, Netflix appears to be staving off any thought of entering the DeadPool.

Patent Monkey is a regular feature written by our friends at