Last Friday, a federal judge invalidated ten claims relating to Acacia Media Technologies family of patents on audio and video transmission and streaming media. The case dates all the way back to 2002 when Acacia filed suit against Echostar, DirectTV, Time Warner Cable and CSC Holdings, Inc.
For me, this patent fight with Acacia was personal when in 2004, the company came into the streaming media industry and started threatening universities, vendors, and content owners with legal action if they didn't pay up. Acacia put a target on our industry and threatened to try and derail our growth when they claimed to own patents that covered just about every form of online digital audio and video transmission. We took up the fight soon after and dedicated a whole section to it on our website to try and get the word out on what Acacia was doing. While it's taken five years, it's great to finally see these broad patents shot down in court.
While a few hundred companies did pay Acacia to license the patents before this ruling, I'm guessing they now wish they hadn't. But I know that for some small companies, they simply could not afford to fight it in court and it was cheaper for them to simply get a license. It's good to know that Acacia won't be able to force companies to do that any more, at least as it pertains to their online video patents.