Right, well, this is new. We know of countless copyright lawsuits being thrown about regarding BitTorrent - but what about a patent lawsuit? A company which, for now, has all the airs of a classic patent troll, has sued BitTorrent, Inc. and uTorrent, claiming the BitTorrent protocol violates some vague software patent. No connection to the mafia RIAA/MPAA/etc. has been found yet, but I won't be surprised.
The company in question is Tranz-Send Broadcasting Network, a San-Francisco based... Uh, yeah, we don't really know what they do yet. All we know is that they own a patent titled 'Media file distribution with adaptive transmission protocols', and was granted in 2007. While that's way after the introduction of the BitTorrent protocol (2001), the patent was filed in 2009. The company is seeking damages and all that jazz.
Upon looking at the patent, it describes a system that doesn't look like the BitTorrent protocol at all. The patent describes a system built around files stored on a central server, completely ignoring the many-to-many clients aspect that makes BitTorrent so immensely useful.
This certainly looks like a classic patent troll, and that's already enough of a reason to hate them. While there is zero evidence at this point, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it would turn out that this Tranz-Send Broadcasting Network is just a front for some collaboration in the content industry - or, if that's not the case, that the company will soon receive a big bag of money from them.
Other than uTorrent and BitTorrent, they are also suing Kontiki, Inc., which produces a business-oriented content delivery system, using technologies from the world of peer-to-peer and central server. This could be proof that the content industry has nothing to do with this (yet).
I'd love for the web to find out who is behind all this. All we know is that the company is supposed to have an office at 500 Pine St., San Francisco, CA 94108, at phone number 415-263-0949. Google Maps shows and empty lot at this location, but of course, Google Maps could be outdated.
More sure to follow.