Unified Patents wins first round of in-car streaming war

Unified Patents in the US, which describes itself as insurance against patent trolls, has issued a one line release which seems to let half a dozen car companies off the hook from streaming music patents.

The win is really just a first stage win, against Digital Stream, which claims to have patents which govern how you can listen to music, store it, and buy it from a car radio. Throughout 2016 Digital Stream brought patents suits against Bosch, BMW, Daimler, GM, Honda, and Nissan.

Unified Patents clearly does not want to crow too loud at this point, but has got an Appeal Board patent judge to respond to an “inter partes” review of claims made by Digital Stream, suggesting that most of the claims made are obvious and un-patentable.

Digital Stream’s 6,757,913 patent comes with 32 claims, and this was a first review to see if it was worth going ahead with a full trial to throw out some of these claims. The Judge said that it was likely that United Patents would prevail in a case on the grounds of obviousness and a trial will now be ordered.

The judge cited claims 1, 4, 6, 13, 20 and 22 of the 913 patent as likely to be un-patentable. 1 is where a local radio tunes a signal and turns it into sound; 4 relates to de-compressing the data from the signal, 6 to multiplexing multiple signals; 13 refers to transferring meta data to a digital display; 20 and 22 are the idea in its entirely including a UI for management.

We suspect that now either the suits will be withdrawn, or the patent claims reduced in their severity, but if an Inter Partes case goes ahead, an expert patent judge will issue a binding judgement, which everyone has to go along with. All of which either means less for Digital Stream, or nothing at all and a win for those against patent trolls.