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IBiquity Jumps Into Patent Fray

Tech developer asks court to declare Wyncomm/DRT HD Radio patent claims invalid

In what can be characterized as a counterattack, HD Radio developer iBiquity Digital Corp. is now involved in the legal fray between a number of radio groups and two companies who claim to hold patents for the technology that broadcasters use to transmit their digital signals.

In documents recently filed in federal court, the tech developer is asking the court to declare that licensees and users of the iBiquity HD Radio technology do not infringe patents held by Wyncomm LLC and an associated company, Delaware Radio Technologies LLC, and that those companies’ patents are invalid. The tech developer is asking U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Sleet for a declaratory judgment, plus expenses and a jury trial.

The filing in the Delaware court comes just before broadcasters were to respond to a patent infringement lawsuit filed against them by Wyncomm and DRT. The patent holders filed suit against 14 radio ownership groups in 2013 claiming the broadcasters’ HD Radio technology infringes on U.S. patent no. 5,506,866 and two other associated patents they own.

In its complaint, iBiquity states multiple prior art references exist that were not before the patent examiner during prosecution of the three patents that would have limited several patent claims and would have prevented the patent from being issued. IBiquity says in the filing that it can “provide additional and more detailed invalidity conventions as ordered by the court.”

“An actual controversy exists between iBiquity and Defendants Delaware Radio and Wyncomm regarding the alleged infringement and invalidity of the Patents-in-Suit, and iBiquity is entitled to relief as requested,” states the tech developer.

The development also sheds light on the ongoing litigation between the patent holders and broadcasters. Named as defendants in the first federal lawsuit were Beasley Broadcast Group, CBS Radio, Clear Channel parent CC Media Holdings, Cox Media Group, Cumulus Media, Entercom, Entravision, Greater Media, Hubbard Radio, Radio Disney, Radio One, Saga, Townsquare Media and Univision.

In the new filing, iBiquity reveals the company has a contractual obligation to indemnify the broadcasters — and automakers and their suppliers named in a separate suit — against any losses incurred as a result of being sued over use of HD Radio technology. Wyncomm and DRT late last year filed a similar suit alleging Ford, Chrysler, General Motors, Toyota, BMW and 13 other car companies are infringing on its three patents.

Several radio groups contacted previously by Radio World have declined to comment on the suit citing the pending litigation.