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Radio Gets More Time to Reply to IBOC Patent Suit

Patent litigation spills into New Year

The radio broadcasters targeted in a federal patent infringement lawsuit linked to their HD Radio transmissions have received more time to reply to the allegations.

Delaware Radio Technologies and an affiliated company, Wyncomm LLC, sued a number of radio ownership groups in November, alleging patent infringement over the voice and data transmission technology used by broadcasters for their in-band, on-channel digital audio broadcasts.

Wyncomm is identified by several observers as a patent monetization entity, a type of business that critics deride as a patent troll. Wyncomm is asking for a jury trial and is seeking damages from the broadcasters as well as from 18 automakers in a second set of suits.

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 are named as defendants in the federal lawsuit.

U.S. patent no. 5,506,866 is titled “Side-Channel Communications in Simultaneous Voice and Data Transmission” and was applied for in 1993 and granted in 1996. The United States Patent and Trademark Office originally assigned the ’866 patent to AT&T.

The assignment history of the ’866 patent indicates it has traded hands many times through the years, including at least a half-dozen times in 2013, according to records from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The plaintiff says the patent specifically describes radio transmission techniques used in the IBOC standard adopted by the National Radio Systems Committee in 2005.

Originally, broadcasters were to reply to the lawsuit by Nov. 26. Cox Media asked for and received an extension until Jan. 3, 2014 for its reply to the suit in court before Judge Gregory Sleet. The other defendants received the judge’s approval to delay their responses until Feb. 24, 2014.

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