Patents, patents, everywhere! It seems you can’t swing a cat these days without infringing on someone’s patent. The latest victim/perp is Microsoft; an Illinois doctor is suing them because of a patent he was granted in 2002 which allegedly covers the Zune’s ability to tag a song directly from the radio and then download that song once an internet connection is established. Obviously it’s for the lawyers to work out the details, but it seems to me what he must have been granted was more a method of identifying and later purchasing a song, not the plain act of tagging and downloading later.
But all the Zune device does is copy the artist and song directly from the digital FM stream, and then search for it in the Zune store if an internet connection is available, right? This is an ability several devices have, including the iPod Nano, though certainly all their methods differ slightly.
But who knows? Maybe this guy has a point and his patent does include this stuff. If that’s the case, then may justice be done. I’m more skeptical of his claim that he pitched Microsoft with the idea in 2006; he claims to have emailed them, and includes some of the text — half of it is in ALL CAPS. I have a feeling Microsoft tends to ignore ALL CAPS emails.
What’s the likely outcome? Man, I don’t know! I’m not a lawyer!