Premier International Associates sues tech companies

A company called Premier International Associates has filed suit against a slew of tech companies over infringement on two of the company's patents. Microsoft, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba, Viacom, Real, Napster, Samsung, LG, Motorola, Nokia, and Sandisk are named in one of the two suits filed this week, while Hewlett-Packard, Acer, Gateway, and […]

A company called Premier International Associates has filed suit against a slew of tech companies over infringement on two of the company's patents. Microsoft, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba, Viacom, Real, Napster, Samsung, LG, Motorola, Nokia, and Sandisk are named in one of the two suits filed this week, while Hewlett-Packard, Acer, Gateway, and Yahoo are named in another. All of the above companies are accused of violating Premier's patents for an electronic "List building system"—the older of which was applied for in 1997 and issued in 2001.

The patents describe what essentially comes down to a playlist. "A plurality of works can be collected together in a list for purposes of establishing a play or a presentation sequence. The list can be visually displayed and edited," reads the "725" patent. Both of them describe ways to arrange songs from CDs or any manner of media that can then be played back sequentially or out-of-order.

Premier's complaints, seen by Ars Technica, accuse all 19 companies of producing some product that infringes on the playlist patents—usually music stores, music-playing software, or music-playing devices. The lawsuits make a bit of a stretch in the cases of Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba, HP, Acer, and Gateway—the companies are accused of making computers that are capable of running Windows XP or Windows Vista, which then are capable of running Microsoft's Windows Media Player, which Premier says infringes on its patents. But Premier, what about the manufacturing plants that assemble the machines that are capable of running Windows that can run WMP that infringes on the patents?

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Permier Internation, Patent, Lawsuite, Litigation