Intertainer sues Apple, Google, Napster

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The defunct movie download service Intertainer Inc. has sued Apple Computer Inc., Google Inc. and Napster Inc. over patents the company says it owns governing Internet distribution of video content.

The lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court in Marshall, Texas, claims Intertainer filed a patent in 2001 outlining the business model for offering video content from various providers to consumers over the TV and the Internet. The patent was granted in 2005.

Intertainer claims Apple, Google and Napster are using the patent without permission. The lawsuit asks for damages and a permanent injunction.

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling Wednesday said the company does not comment on pending litigation. Napster spokeswoman Dana Harris said the company was looking into the matter. A call to Google for comment was not immediately returned.

Intertainer launched in 1998 with investments from Comcast Corp., Intel Corp., Microsoft Corp., Sony Corp. and NBC. The service streamed movies over the Internet and provided movies on demand for cable services.

The company shut down its service in 2002 after filing a federal lawsuit alleging the major movie studios were conspiring to force it out of business by refusing to license films for the service or charging higher fees in order to favor a new service, Movielink, jointly owned by five of the major studios.

The lawsuit was settled out of court last March.

Intertainer now licenses its patents to video on demand and similar companies.
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