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Blu-Ray Players Blocked?

Walker Digital
Asks US to block imports
Of Blu-Ray players

At the urging of Walker Digital, the US International Trade Commission (USITC) has launched an investigation into whether certain foreign-made Blu-ray Disc players infringe Walker’s US patents.

Walker, a “non-practicing entity” based in Stamford, Connecticut, filed a Section 337 complaint with the USITC, seeking to block imports of the allegedly-infringing players.

Walker alleges that the players infringe its U.S. Patent No. 6,263,505, a system and method for supplying supplemental information for video programs.  Walker says it licenses the ‘505 technology to California-based Oppo Digital Inc., among other companies.

The technology “allows someone who is watching a movie on Blu-ray disc to access ‘fun facts’ about an actor or a scene without pausing the movie to do a search on the Internet.”

In April, Walker sued LG, Panasonic, Pioneer, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba and many other Blu-ray disc manufacturers in Delaware Federal Court for infringement of the ‘505 patent.  In June, an anonymous third party requested reexamination of five of the ‘505 patent’s 43 patent claims, and in September Sony requested reexamination of the remaining claims.  The defendants then moved to stay the Delaware action pending conclusion of these reexaminations.

The PTO granted the first reexamination and rejected all 43 claims as either anticipated by or obvious under the prior art.

However, the ITC, unlike the District Courts, does not stay investigations during reexamination proceedings.

Walker Digital, which launched Priceline.com in 1998, has sued hundreds of defendants for patent infringement in the past year.  Previous targets include Amazon, Dell, Google, and HP.  In 2010, Walker sued Facebook over “friending.”

The USITC notice can be found here.

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