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Patent suit targets Apple over iTunes' 'information distribution'

Apple and its iTunes store has been grouped with a number of mainstream media outlets in a new lawsuit regarding a patent of distribution and processing of information online.

Online News Link, a California-based company, holds claim to U.S. Patent No. 7,508,789, which covers the transmission of digital information through a broadcast channel and bi-directional channel. The company has alleged that Apple has infringed on that patent.

"Defendant Apple infringes, either directly or indirectly, through its operation of iTunes and the email and Web-based products, systems, and services offered via iTunes," the suit, filed in a U.S. District Court this week, reads.

The patent was granted on March 24, 2009. It describes a system that allows quick search and retrieval of broadcast information via the Internet.

"The amount of information delivered is preferably sufficient to satisfy the needs of a large number of subscribers so they do not have to obtain additional information using the bi-directional channel," the patent reads. "The broadcast information is stored on fast storage media located at subscriber sites."

In addition to Apple, Online News Link's suit targets Dow Jones & Company, Investor's Business Daily, Forbes Media,,, Morningstar, A.H. Belo Corporation, and The Dallas Morning News. The suit was filed in the Eastern District of Texas, where complainants often file in hopes of a favorable outcome.

Online News Link patent: "Information Distribution and Processing System."

"Each Defendant has committed and continues to commit acts of patent infringement, directly and/or through agents and intermediaries, by offering for sale, selling, and distributing certain infringing products, services, and systems in Texas and, particularly, the Eastern District of Texas," the suit reads. "Each Defendant has purposefully and voluntarily placed one or more of its infringing products, services, and systems into the stream of commerce."

Online News Link has requested a trial by jury, and asserts that it is entitled to damages and costs incurred by the company.