Apple Hit with iTunes Video Encoding Lawsuit

Apple is the target of yet another patent infringement lawsuit, this time from the New Jersey-based Multi-Format Inc. The company alleged in its lawsuit that Apple is violating its patents by building and selling products that support downloading and viewing video-based programs such as TV shows and movies, according to Patently Apple.

The lawsuit claims that by “making, using, marketing, distributing, providing, testing, configuring, selling and/or offering to sell in the United States and importing into the United States Power Mac G5, iPhone (including 3GS and 4G), iPad, iPod classic, iPod nano, iPod Touch, Apple TV, and iTunes products; and allowing, authorizing or otherwise providing capability and/or access to third parties or its customers to, inter alia, download and view video programs,” Apple is using Multi-Format patented technology without authorization.

Apple’s iTunes Store offers TV shows and movie downloads for purchase and rent, and the company’s hardware products, such as the iMac, iPhone and iPad, include hardware and software designed to play iTunes Store content. According to Multi-Format, that’s enough to violate its patent.

The patent in question, number RE38,079, describes a system where video content can be converted between formats, resized and stored digitally for playback on a variety of devices.

Multi-Format is asking the court for damages and back payment for royalties from Apple and “its affiliates, offers, agents, servants, employees, and all persons in active concert or participation with them.”