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Tech Company Sues Movielink

10 Apr, 2003 By: Holly J. Wagner

USA Video Technology Corp. (USVO) has filed a lawsuit against the Movielink video-on-demand (VOD) dowload service and it studio backers, claiming they have enfringed its patents for the technology to deliver movies over the Internet, the Connecticut-based technology company announced today.

The suit, filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware alleges that Movielink, which is incorporated in Delaware, has infringed and continues to infringe on USVO's patented online movie delivery system.

A spokesperson for Movielink could not be immediately reached for comment.

USVO contends it is a developer, supplier and owner of the patent-in-suit that covers media delivery services that allow Internet users to request and receive digitized movies online.

According to court papers filed by intellectual property attorneys at Steptoe & Johnson, Movielink has been making, using, selling and offering to sell systems and services that infringe upon U.S. Patent No. 5,130,792 (USP 5130792) for this technology.

"Movielink operates a Web site that allows an individual to request a movie online and have it transmitted in digital form to a personal computer or other output device for personal storage and playback,” said plaintiff's attorney Erik B. Cherdak. “It's a great idea, but, as the movie studio members of the limited liability company that make up Movielink are well aware, the technology being used to accomplish this transaction is patented and the plaintiff has not consented to nor been compensated for its use. That is the basis for today's suit."

The suit names Warner Brothers, Paramount Pictures Corp., Metro Goldwyn-Mayer, Universal Studios and Sony Pictures Entertainment, the joint venture partners in Movielink. According to the complaint, rights to the technology the studios use on the site belong to USVO's subsidiary.

"The potential for this technology is enormous," said USVO president Edwin Molina. "The fact that the major studios have already moved forward to deploy it, albeit in violation of the patent, makes it clear that the home distribution of movies has already entered a new era."

The plaintiff is asking the court for a declaratory judgment of both infringement and willful infringement, permanent injunctive relief, compensatory and treble damages, interest, legal costs, as well as a jury trial on all appropriate issues.

Steptoe's J. William Koegel, Jr. and Jeffrey T. Hsu also are handling the case.

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