German court ruling threatens Apple's video services

Thu Mar 17, 2016 2:59pm EDT
 
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By Eric Auchard and Dan Levine

FRANKFURT/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A German district court has ruled that Apple Inc (AAPL.O: Quote) violated patents acquired by Swiss security company Kudelski's OpenTV business, which could force Apple to remove some video streaming features from popular products sold in Germany.

The ruling by a three-judge panel at the Duesseldorf district court on Tuesday said that Apple must not supply software that infringes an OpenTV patent covering the mixing of video, audio and online information in a single video stream.

The court's decision puts pressure on Apple to seek a licensing deal from Kudelski, though the U.S. technology leviathan could comply by removing or disabling the offending features from its video streaming products. In the worst case, it would have to pull the devices from the market.

Products that could be affected range from iPhones to iPad tablets, Mac computers, the iTunes music service, the Quicktime video software player and Apple TV, the Silicon Valley company's video streaming box, according to court documents.

"The claim is predominantly valid and well-founded," the Duesseldorf court said in its ruling.

POTENTIAL FINES

It is unclear whether Apple will appeal. The company faces fines of up to 250,000 euros per infringement if it fails to comply, but the ruling did not specify how this would be calculated or what the total amount of penalties might be.   Continued...

 
An Apple logo is seen at the entrance of an Apple Store in downtown Brussels, Belgium March 10, 2016.   REUTERS/Yves Herman