“Florida company CustomPlay filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple today, claiming a Siri feature that allows fourth-generation Apple TV users to rewatch a portion of video with closed captioning copies its movie companion software,” Joe Rossignol reports for MacRumors. “The case has yet to be assigned to a judge.”
Rossignol reports, “Using the Siri Remote, Apple TV users can ask ‘what did he say?’ or a similar question and tvOS will rewind the TV show or movie by 10-15 seconds and resume playing with closed captioning temporarily enabled.”
“CustomPlay owner Max Abecassis essentially argues he invented the idea first, as the owner of U.S. Patent No. 6,408,128 B1, filed in 1998 and granted in 2002,” Rossignol reports. “The patent covers a replay function with subtitles activated by either remote control or voice control, much like tvOS’s feature.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Here’s an excerpt from CustomPlay’s patent description:
A remote control capable of activating a replay function comprises a WHAT? button, key, or other replay function key or means, to enable a viewer by activating the replay function to automatically cause the system to: i) rewind or skip backwards the playing of the video a system default or a viewer specific previously defined amount, e.g. 20 seconds; ii) turn on the subtitle to a system default or a viewer specific previously selected subtitle language, e.g. English; iii) turn off the subtitle at either the point the WHAT? button was pressed or at some viewer specific previously defined point with respect to the time at which the WHAT? button was pressed, e.g. five seconds prior to, or after, the point the WHAT? button was pressed; and iv) increase the audio/dialog volume during the segment replayed.
The patent wording suggests that CustomPlay has a decent case against Apple. Whether that patent should have been granted in the first place or not, we’ll let the court(s) hash that out if Apple and CustomPlay don’t simply settle.