Affinity Labs nails Amazon with patent suit over streaming service

David Yates Feb. 5, 2015, 2:39pm


Affinity Labs of Texas, a known filer of patent infringement suits, has accused Amazon.com and its subsidiary, Amazon Digital Services, of infringing a patent for accessing digital music and video.

The suit was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas, Waco Division.

According to the complaint for patent infringement, Russell White, a patent attorney, and Harlie Frost, an engineer, founded affinity Labs. On March 28, 2000, White filed patent application 09/537,812, which broadly addressed the problem of accessing, managing and communicating digital audio and video.

The ‘812 application allegedly disclosed a number of inventions relating to creating a new media ecosystem with a portable electronic audio device, such as a smartphone, at its center, the suit states.

On April 1 the U.S. Patent and Trademark office issued patent No. 8,688,085, entitled "System and Method To Communicate Targeted Information." The '085 patent issued from a continuation application claiming priority to the '812 application.

Amazon is accused of infringing on the ‘085 patent, the suit states.

“Amazon has and continues to manufacture, use, and market, without authority, a media system that includes www. amazon.com and the Amazon Music application for tablets and smartphones,” the suit states.

“For instance, Amazon manufacturers, sells, and offers to sell Amazon Kindle Fire tablets and Amazon Fire smartphones, which include the Amazon Music application pre-loaded on those devices. In addition, Amazon makes, uses, and offers for use the Amazon Music application for download on non-Amazon tablets and smartphones, such as on Samsung Galaxy S III.”

Frost notified Amazon of the infringement on May 13, but Amazon declined to provide a “substantive response” and continued its infringement.

“Amazon continues to make, use, and offer the media system that infringes the '085 patent,” the suit states. “Amazon's infringement of the '085 patent has been and is willful because Amazon has known of the '085 patent, known that its media system infringes the '085 patent, and yet continues to offer its media system in at least reckless disregard of Affinity Labs' patent rights.”

In addition to enjoining Amazon from infringing on the patent, Affinity Labs is seeking an award of treble damages, plus court costs and attorney’s fees.

The company is represented by John Palmer, attorney for the Waco law firm Naman Howell Smith & Lee.

Case No. 6:15-cv-00029-JCM

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