Multimedia patent claimed
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 93 15:53:07 PST
Subject: Multimedia patent claimed
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, U.S.A., 1993 NOV 17 (NB) -- Does anyone own
multimedia? Compton's New Media, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tribune
Publishing, claims it does and it has the patent to prove it.
According to the company, anyone selling information in a multimedia
format will need to pay license fees to Compton's no matter what the
device used to distribute multimedia. Company officials say interactive
television services like those announced by Time Warner and GTE,
graphical on-line services such as America Online and Prodigy, and
compact disc read-only memory (CD-ROM) title developers will all be
obligated to pay or face legal action.
The US Patent Number is 5,241,671 titled: "Multimedia Search System
Using A Plurality Of Entry Path Means Which Indicate Inter-relatedness
Of Information." The patent was issued on August 31, 1993, and describes
the technology as: "A database search system that retrieves multimedia
information in a flexible, user friendly system. The search system uses
a multimedia database consisting of text, picture, audio, and animated
data. That database is searched through multiple graphical and textual
Four ways were enumerated for the licensing: one percent of the net
profits, rising to three percent for those who do not comply by June
30, 1994; a strategic licensing agreement; distribution of multimedia
information which it will buy for resale at a 65 percent discount; or
purchase of a Compton's tool set for title development with accompanying
run-time fees for distribution.
[ A recent (one hour ago) NPR news broadcast dealt with this patent. They
explained how the patent examiners might be a bit out of touch in this field
and ended by quoting someone stating that the biggies (e.g. IBM, Microsoft)
would be unlikely to let this patent go unchallenged.
I had listened to another NPR show this morning in which listeners were
being asked to call in and send email suggesting topics for future shows. They
had callers suggesting all kinds of strange topics. After encouraging people
to sign their emessages clearly (and admitting that they don't understand the
headers) they got to the email. The first one was "from somebody named Richard
Stallman who seems to be in Boston." Surprise, surprise, his proposed topic
was why software patents are a bad idea and how much damage they do.
Needless to say it was a bit of deja vu (deja ecoute?) to hear the
Compton's news four hours later. -psl]
© 1993 Peter Langston