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Blockbuster scores in Netflix suit

Judge refuses to nix antitrust allegations

Blockbuster notched a victory in its ongoing legal war with Netflix on Tuesday, when a federal judge refused to dismiss or split antitrust allegations from the ongoing patent infringement battle between the two companies.

Ruling by U.S. District Judge William Alsup clears the way for Blockbuster to pursue its case that the Netco fraudulently obtained patents and is trying to monopolize the online rental sector. These charges emerged in response to Netflix’s suit charging Blockbuster with copying its method of online vid rentals.

Blockbuster claims that Netflix failed to disclose to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officials that another company had invented similar technologies. The Dallas-based retailer also claims Netflix originally filed suit to protect its monopoly, a charge the judge refused to dismiss.

The two companies are battling over rent-by-mail services at a time when video-on-demand and movie-download services are gaining cachet, if not necessarily sizable market share.

A Netflix rep called the ruling procedural.

(Bloomberg contributed to this report.)

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