Spotify sued in US over streaming technology

Having taken many months to worm its streaming music service into the US, Spotify now finds itself on the end of a lawsuit- not, you might imagine, for infringng copyright but over a streaming technology it uses.

Content streaming outfit PacketVideo has got its lawyers to fire off a missive to Spotify claiming infringement of a "Device for the distribution of music information in digital form." You'd think the outfit could have sent that complaint at any number of music services, and that may be true.

Lawsuits filed in Holland and in San Diego follow what PacketVideo said are attempts to get Spotify to cough up without landing before the beak.The company, which is now owned by Japanese phone giant Docomo claims Spotify "knowingly infringed and continues to infringe on a number of PacketVideo patents", including U.S. patent 5,636,276 and European patent EP 0 678 851.

According to Joel Espelien, PacketVideo's general counsel, his firm "has a long history of software innovation, and is committed to creating inventive solutions that power unparalleled multimedia experiences on home and mobile devices worldwide." That said, PacketVideo actually picked up these patents when it bought out a Swiss rival back in the 90s.

In a statement, Spotify claimed PacketVideo "is claiming that by distributing music over the Internet, Spotify (and by inference any other similar digital music service) has infringed one of the patents that has previously been acquired by PacketVideo. Spotify is strongly contesting PacketVideo's claim."