Just days after the upper echelon at Apple personally intervened to let the live streaming iPhone app Knocking Live Video into the app store, an Israeli high-tech firm called Emblaze Mobile has informed Apple that the app infringes on one of its media streaming patents in the US. As we reported this past Tuesday, Knocking Live Video enables iPhone 3G and 3GS owners to stream live video streams to other iPhone and iPod Touch users. While certainly a cool concept, initial user reaction to the app was overwhelmingly negative as a slew of users experienced bugs that prevented the app from working at all.
9to5Mac notes that Emblaze “has been developing media streaming technology for over a decade and first unveiled its technology to the public in a live video streaming broadcast from the White House during Easter, 1998. The technology allows users to send live or pre-recorded audio and video to other devices, it saves on data traffic, does not require devoted streaming servers and allows reliable streaming even through firewalls.”
Emblaze is reportedly open to licensing the technology to Apple, and requests an official response by December 15th. Though detailed information of the lawsuit isn’t yet available, something here doesn’t add up. For starters, why didn’t Emblaze contact that actual app developers. Second, in suing Apple, Emblaze seems to be getting ahead of itself in that Apple could simply remove the app. And it’s not as if Emblaze could sue Apple for manufacturing a device with the potential to infringe on one of its patents.
Interestingly, one iPhone rumor that rears its ugly head every summer is the inclusion of iChat-esque video conferencing. The underlying capability to implement such a feature on the iPhone undoubtedly exists, and if Apple was eventually planning to add it, then maybe this lawsuit is just a heads up notice to let Apple know that someone else owns a patent on that technology.
We’ll have more on this case as information becomes available.