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Possible Settlement in HD Patent Suit?

Broadcasters get extension to respond to litigation

New court documents filed in a patent infringement suit targeting broadcasters and the HD Radio technology they use indicate that the involved parties are discussing a possible settlement.

Wyncomm LLC and Delaware Radio Technologies (DRT) sued 14 radio ownership groups in November 2013 alleging patent infringement for using voice and data transmission technology for their HD Radio broadcasts.

The latest court documents give a brief glimpse inside the lawsuit between what some describe as a so-called patent troll and the radio broadcast groups. The documents reflect the willingness of the parties to discuss a settlement while delaying the date broadcasters are required to reply to the lawsuit filed in federal court.

“The reason for the request is to allow parties additional time to discuss settlement,” according to a letter filed with U.S. District Court in Delaware in early February and agreed to by both sides. The request was accepted by the court; that now delays broadcaster responses until April 25. Originally, the responses were due Monday, Feb. 24.

The plaintiffs claim the broadcasters are using In-Band, On-Channel technology and therefore infringing on U.S. patent no. 5,506,866, which is entitled “Side-Channel Communications in Simultaneous Voice and Data Transmission.” HD Radio developer iBiquity Digital is not named nor identified in any of the lawsuits.

Named as defendants in the lawsuit are: 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.

Separately, Wyncomm and DRT also filed a federal suit in U.S. District Court in Delaware alleging Ford, Chrysler, General Motors, Toyota, BMW and 13 other car companies are infringing upon the same patent. That suit is ongoing.

All of the associated patent infringement suits filed by Wyncomm and DRT in federal court have been assigned to Judge Gregory Sleet.

Radio World has contacted legal experts for their opinion on the proceedings.