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Comcast Sues Sprint

Jeff Baumgartner
2/21/2012

The relationship between Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) continued to deteriorate last week as the MSO filed a patent lawsuit in a Pennsylvania court against its erstwhile wireless partner.

Comcast and TVWorks LLC , the MSO's wholly owned video software subsidiary, allege that Sprint is infringing on four patents that the wireless carrier is using to help power a range of relatively core mobile services.

According to a copy of the suit filed on Feb. 17 and obtained by Light Reading Cable, here's a list of patents linked to the case and a quick rundown of which Sprint services Comcast claims are tied to the alleged infringements.

  • No. 7,684,391: Communications System for Delivering Multimedia Internet Protocol Packets Across Network Boundaries. Comcast claims that Sprint's voice and data service using IP/MPLS backhaul or transport are infringing. Patent issued March 23, 2010.

  • No. 6,885,870: Transferring of a Message. Comcast claims that Sprint's multimedia messaging service (MMS) products for picture mail, wireless video mail and mobile email infringe on this one. Patent issued April 26, 2005.

  • No. 5,987,323: Starting a Short Message Transmission in a Cellular Communication System. Comcast alleges that Sprint short message service (SMS) products such as Vision Pack, unlimited texting, wireless texting and wireless premium test messaging plans infringe. Patent issued Nov. 16, 1999.

  • No. 6,112,305: Mechanism for Dynamically Binding a Network Computer Client Device to an Approved Internet Service Provider. Comcast (via its TVWorks unit) claims that Sprint wireless data products, including mobile broadband USB models and PCMCIA wireless cards offered under the carrier's 3G Mobile Broadband Connection and PowerVision plans infringe. Patent issued Aug. 29, 2000.


Comcast is seeking an injunction, plus attorney fees and undisclosed compensatory damages. Sprint declined to comment.

Why this matters
It's pretty clear that Comcast and Sprint aren't friends anymore. Comcast's suit comes about two months after Sprint sued the MSO and other former cable partners for allegedly infringing a dozen patents tied to VoIP services.

Comcast's latest legal maneuver also comes as it phases out sales of Sprint's 3G data service and Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR)'s WiMax offering and continues to roll out service bundles with new wireless partner Verizon Wireless .

For more
Catch up on Comcast's recent mobile history.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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krishanguru143
krishanguru143
12/5/2012 | 5:41:59 PM
re: Comcast Sues Sprint


"Communications System for Delivering Multimedia Internet Protocol Packets Across Network Boundaries"


 


Really?  How is this different from say what Netflix does?  Wouldn't movies be part of multimedia?  Multimedia over MPLS is nothing new.


 


"No. 6,885,870: Transferring of a Message. Comcast claims that Sprint's multimedia messaging service (MMS) products for picture mail, wireless video mail and mobile email infringe on this one. Patent issued April 26, 2005."


 


MMS was part of a GSM spec in 1999.  So clearly prior art won't be hard to prove.


 


"No. 5,987,323: Starting a Short Message Transmission in a Cellular Communication System."


 


SMS has been around for awhile.  It was part of the GSM spec in 1985.  It doesn't take 14-years for a patent to be awarded.


 


"No. 6,112,305: Mechanism for Dynamically Binding a Network Computer Client Device to an Approved Internet Service Provider." 


Wouldn't a SIM card do the same exact thing?  What about a modem, you know, the analog ones?  Wouldn't "software" be a mechanism?  Many ISP's had their own software and even Microsoft had a wizard to help select an ISP; clearly that is dynamic.


 


Sprint should do the minimum required per their MSO contract with Comcast and if they can throttle their users, do it.


 


Comcast wants away from Sprint on want to move to Verizon.  That is very clear from this lawsuit.

Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner
12/5/2012 | 5:41:55 PM
re: Comcast Sues Sprint


Not sure how they'll fare on these allegations based on your observations, but there's some tit-for-tat going on here. Keeping the lawyers busy, anyway. JB

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