Bloomberg news is reporting that Dish Network (who owns Sling TV) is sueing many of the major connected fitness players over streaming video patents. Peloton, ICON Health & Fitness (who are the makers of NordicTrack), and Lululemon (who recently purchased Mirror) were all served lawsuits yesterday by Dish Network in different federal courts. Peloton’s case has been assigned the docket 2:21-cv-00132-JRG.
At issue are Dish Network patent(s) that “allows Internet users to stream content from across the world in real time at the highest possible quality”
Specifically, DISH is suing over these 5 patents: 9,407,564, 10,469,554, 10,469,555, 10,757,156, and 10,951,680.
One of the big pieces of Dish Networks’ patents is that they allow for the streaming of different qualities of video, based on the bandwidth of the user connecting. Essentially, this means someone with a faster internet connection would be sent a higher quality video than someone with a slower internet connection. The goal would be to send the user the highest quality video possible, that prevents buffering & streaming issues.
This is laid out in the lawsuit:
To address these needs, the ABR Inventors came up with a novel solution: HTTP- based Adaptive Bitrate Streaming. ABR segments the full content file into smaller units (“streamlets”) in multiple bitrates and delivers them over HTTP / TCP, the underlying protocols used for reliably transmitting data over the Internet. The ABR Inventors’ approach enables content delivery to adapt to the bandwidth available at any particular time, ensuring delivery of the highest possible quality content throughout the course of the stream. The playback client device continuously observes the quality of a user’s network connection and adjusts the requested quality of the streamed content.
Over time, if the internet connection improves, the patented technology would then in theory start sending higher quality video.
In addition to suing over the patents in federal court, they have also filed a request with the U.S. International Trade Commission looking to block imports of the products into the US until the suit is settled.
Dish has previously sued other companies over this patent – in 2019 they sued Univision Communications Inc, who settled the case.
You can see Bloomberg’s report here.