Sorenson Countersues Apple Over Codec Tiff

Sorenson Media has responded to a lawsuit from Apple, which claimed that Sorenson violated exclusivity rights by offering another version of their Spark video codec to other parties. Sorensonis countersuit against Apple claims breach of contract and fraud. At the heart of the claim is Sorensonis Spark Codec, which Apple uses in QuickTime. Sorenson licensed the Spark Codec to Macromedia to be used in the Flash MX, which Apple claimed violated its exclusivity agreement with Sorenson.

In a press release related to its countersuit, Sorenson has claimed that even Steve Jobs has acknowledged in an e-mails that his company did not have exclusive rights to Spark, though Sorenson did not offer the exact e-mail in question. The company is claiming breach of contract and fraud, and is seeking damages from Apple due to lost business from Appleis claims. From that press release:

Central to the Sorenson Media claims is a February 2000 e-mail from Steve Jobs, Appleis chief executive officer, to James Lee Sorenson, Sorenson Mediais CEO, which states that Apple had exclusive rights to past but not future versions of software codecs produced by Sorenson Media.

"Given the content of this e-mail, which we have attached to our counterclaims, it is difficult to understand how Apple filed this lawsuit in the first place. Appleis lawsuit claims that Apple has exclusive rights to the very same things to which Mr. Jobsi admits that Apple does not have exclusive rights," said Ed McGarr, vice president of sales and marketing at Sorenson Media.

The Sorenson Media counterclaim alleges that Jobs claimed to Macromedia that Apple had exclusive rights to Sorensonis Spark Codec, which was specifically designed for Macromediais Flash MX product. This claim has chilled sales that Sorenson expected to achieve through co-marketing efforts with Macromedia to a very rapidly growing Macromedia Flash MX developer base.

"The Sorenson Media complaint alleges that what Mr. Jobs said to Macromedia is the exact opposite of what he stated in his February 2000 e-mail," said McGarr.

You can find more information on Sorenson at the companyis Web site.