Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Robocast v. Apple filed in D. Del.

PriorSmart reported the filing of Robocast Inc. v. Apple Inc. on March 21, 2011 in D. Del. The asserted patent is US 7,155,451. AppleTV, FrontRow, and iTunes are pointed to as the infringing products.

The complaint asserts that the patent has a priority claim back to a September 3, 1996 provisional, though there is a 1997 Continuation-in-Part in the priority chain.

The initial independent claims obfuscate the point of the claimed invention, as is often the case. Claim 22, however, starts to make the actual idea clear:

22. A method for transmitting in a sequential arrangement to a user's computer, content derived via a communications network from a plurality of resources the method comprising the steps of:

  • performing an on-line search, in response to which a plurality of search results and their corresponding URL resources are received;
  • automatically creating and storing a show structure of nodes, each node identifying a resource from a plurality of accessible resources via said communications network wherein said show structure is created in response to said search results received in response to said on-line search;
  • without requiring user input accessing each of said resources identified by each of said nodes;
  • retrieving a content corresponding to each of said accessed resources; and
  • automatically delivering said content to said user for display on said user's computer in accordance with said show structure.

In essence, create a node structure from a list of search results, then get and present the content. One is reminded of the PointCast system of the mid-to-late 1990s. The 1996 priority claim makes this an interesting case.

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