you own a website that offers any audio/video downloads, you could
Austin, TX -
(November 17, 2003). Thousands of website owners across the world
have found FINAL NOTICES in their mailboxes from a company called,
Acacia Media Technologies Corporation (http://www.acaciaresearch.com)
which is located in Newport Beach, California. In the letter, Robert
A. Berman, Sr. VP of Business Development and General Counsel for
Acacia, claims that his company owns five U.S. Patents (Patents
Nos. 5,132,992; 5,235,275; 5,550,863; 6,002,720; 6,144,702) and
17 International Patents covering the transmission and receipt of
audio/video content via the Internet. He warns webmasters: "You
provide access to digital audio/video content via your website(s)
without a license from Acacia, and are therefore liable to Acacia
for patent infringement."
a royalty from everyone who has a website on the Internet, who are
in violation of their alleged patent infringement by offering audio/videol
downloads. Berman is giving websites until November 30, 2003 to
pay a minimum of $1,500/year for a license or be sued in court for
back royalties or be ordered to shut down their website.
thought the letter was a joke, so they disregarded it. Some had
received earlier sent "information packets" and found
themselves sued by Acacia in the state of California. Others have
found themselves making a business decision to pay the royalties
and hand over their yearly sales records in order to get a license
from Acacia (Acacia's licensing is based on GROSS revenue).
Acacia has licensed
their patent to adult website companies such as : Hustler, Interactive
Gallery, Vivid Entertainment Group, and Wicked Pictures. They have
been contacting universities, Fortune 500 companies, large and small
an entrepreneur in Austin, TX, created a website www.spokenmessages.com
for some nuns who wanted to extend their ministry by using technology.
SpokenMessages was to be a service that allowed church pastors to
use a telephone to easily record a prayer, message, or a thought
and within thirty seconds, the message was made available for playback
via the web.
was about to come out of beta testing when Shalton found out about
Acacia's Patent claims and royalty fees. Feeling that Acacia's patent
claims were not valid, Brandon took down www.SpokenMessages.com
and set up www.FightThePatent.com on August 12,2003.
crusade of bringing awareness and search for prior art at www.FightThePatent.com
, has now created the idea of creating a non-profit (501c3) organization
called Fight the Patent Foundation. Shalton said: "The mission
is to fight against patent abuse cases much like the way ACLU helps
to defend companies and individuals in areas of constitutional issues.
Patents are very important to protecting novel and innovative ideas.
Bad patents are ones where the patent holder has broadly interpreted
the patent to mean more than what was originally approved, and the
existence of prior art that the USPTO missed upon original examination.
My efforts are not anti-patent, just anti-bad patents."
and businesses have found Shalton's website by word of mouth, Internet
message boards, search engines, and newsgroups. Before August 12,
2003 most of those people did not understand about Internet patent
infringements. Now, Webmasters are paying more attention to patent
Acacia is but
one company in the space of audio/video patents. Other players include
SightSound (suing CDNOW/BMG) and USA Video (suing MovieLink.com).