Tech co. files Movielink patent suit

Studio backed company provides movie downloads

HOLLYWOOD — A Connecticut company has filed suit in a Delaware federal court against Movielink, alleging that the studio-backed online movie service has infringed on its patents on technology to deliver media online.

The suit by USA Video Technology Corp. says it has a patent on a “system and method for a user to request, and have delivered over an electronic network, a digitized video program.”

The company says it tried to license its patent to Movielink and its studio backers, but they were never accepted. The suit asks for compensatory damages, attorney fees and treble punitive damages.

Movielink General Counsel Peter Sheil declined comment on the suit, saying he had not yet seen it and was not even yet sure it had been filed.

Controversial case

Patent cases, particularly involving Internet technologies, have been hugely controversial in recent years as companies try to stake intellectual property rights to various methods and practices that could yield lucrative licensing fees. The U.S. Patent Office has also been frequently criticized for issuing patents in some Internet areas without adequate proof that the applicant has a unique and patentable technology.

Movielink launched late last year with funding from five major studios, whose movies it makes available for a few dollars each for download over the Internet, during the same release window as pay-per-view. More recently, Movielink has cut deals with Artisan, Hypnotic and some foreign film companies to distribute some of their films online as well.

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