back to article IP firm claims ownership of DVD video-menus

A Texas-based intellectual property holder is suing a host of major home entertainment companies - think all the big names - for daring to sell DVDs with clickable videos in their menus. Patent Harbor LLC maintains that owns a patent that covers such user interface features, and that the many named content companies alleged …


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  1. hplasm

    Time to treat US patent trolls

    Like annoying brats (used to be treated...) and ignore them.

    Oh- like most of the world does.

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Patents need to be like trademarks

      I've said it before and I will say it again. Patents need to be like trademarks. If you have a patent and you don't have a product on sale using it within a year then the patent should be null and void.

      A trademark is similar, if you aren't using your trademark then you tend to lose it. It stops people trademarking vast amounts of common words.

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        What a load of horse shit

        Patents exist for a reason, it can take a long time before that genius idea of yours can be successfully turned into a product. By patenting the essence of the process the inventor has protection against large companies stealing the idea and outspending on R&D to beat the innovator to market.

        What should happen is that 'patents' like this should not exist at all.

      2. T.a.f.T.

        It's broken but that 's not the fix

        I agree that things look broken but that would mean that legitimate use of patents could be prevented. Say I come up witha good idea, get a patent (which can take some years to get approved) and go see a few VSs for cash, one year later no one get me money but suddenly there are a half dozen products with my idea in them and no patent protection.

  2. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Prior art

    While the menus weren't videos, the video CD format (VCD) supports menus and was available a year before this patent.

    Any computer game with menus superimposed over the top of a rolling demo is likely to be prior art as well. Just because it isn't video and is computer generated imagery shouldn't really matter.

    1. Ivan Headache

      And the Phillips Laser-Disc

      which dates back even further.

  3. Paolo Marini
    Thumb Down

    This post is not available in patent-encumbered countries

    apparatus and method to assemble a sequence of letters and make sense of it...

  4. hitmouse

    Prior art

    in interactive CDs etc

  5. Christoph

    Biter bit

    The big media companies are being sued for copying someone's IP? Oh the tragedy.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Not relevant

    The patent described is for a system to capture / tag video based on a content image, it doesn't appear to be about actually "tagging" and using "tags" to goto a position in a video stream. It's more like "take a photograph of a car, overlay a grid on that photo and let a user who is encoding the video click on that grid, there is a robot camera which records at a position based on the place the user is clicking" tags and video are generated and mixed in with the content image so that when played back a user sees what was recorded at a particular position. Load of nonsense really and it's surely a patent troll.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm laughing, but in a nervous way really. Or to hold off from crying.

    I'm still amazed that noone succeeded (or thought?) of patenting the "OK" button yet.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    7th guest

    The 7th guest did this back in 1993, and I bet they weren't the first.

    What a waste of time!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I dug out my old copy of T7G the other day and it runs sweet on dosbox... I still can't finish it, mind...

  9. Haku

    Prior art (again)

    Interactive laserdisc games from the 1980s.

  10. Loki 1

    yadda yadda yadda

    How exactly where they damaged by the infringement? They don't actually produce anything, so where is the damage?

    1. Raife Edwards

      You are confusing "copyright" with a "patent".

      Patent-infringement does not require "damage"... only unauthorized use of a valid-patent. And, soon... "prior art" will be utterly irrelevant in the U.S. as the new "First to File - Patent-system reform" (being pushed by numerous big corporations, and the Obama-administration) is specifically designed to completely-eliminate that defense against legal-allegations of "Patent-infringement".

  11. LinkOfHyrule
    Paris Hilton

    if you can patent this clickable video...

    I think it's time I patented breathing. Yep that's right, if you can patent this clickable video shit and start suing people to make money then obviously breathing is also patentable. It's obviously an honest way to make a living, why do anything useful when I can sue people!

    Paris, cos she's infringing my patent!

    1. Jedit

      "Your claim to patent BREATHING is rejected"

      MAD Magazine in 1971, IIRC.

      1. LinkOfHyrule


        Ok i'll patent shitting then.

  12. adnim


    Indeo Video Interactive. Developed by Intel from '92 to 2000 when it was sold to Ligos.

  13. Mage Silver badge

    Anyone remember?

    Prior Art:

    Kodak Portfolio CDs: Interactive menu using content from Audio CD and Photo CD tracks on one disk (real photo CD format, not the jpg Picture CD). (these are not to be confused with putting your portfolio on a CD.

    Portfolio CD format never took off (I have a Kodak demo) as the tools to author were far too expensive. Even Photo CD was never popular due high cost of Kodak tools and closed specification.

    A few dedicated CD audio/Photo CD players and free windows program can play Portfolio CDs. Basically menus with slide shows that have synchronised CD Audio sound track, but quite complex interactivity with cursor and hot spots. Obviously "portfolio" is proprietary Kodak format that is derived from Red Book (CD Audio) and Beige Book (Photo CD). But I've never heard of a Rainbow book for it.

    Wikipedia knows nothing of Portfolio CDs.

    Also CDi

    1984 publicly announced in 1986

    DVD menus are pretty much based on "portfolio CD" and CDi.

    Appropriate Icon for these kind of "IP holders".

  14. Nick Galloway

    Taken to cleaners

    I hope this lot of opportunistic money grubbers take it to court, the judge tells them off for wasting time and for being opportunistic and hits them with a truly massive legal bill for trying to be a bit clever with the law. Bring back the stocks in town squares so rotten fruit and veg can be thrown at people like this!

  15. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Now then!

    Let's see if anyone supports or distances themselves from this?

    In the past when some huge corp beats a little company up over patent infringement, there's been a mass outcry of disgust and much spleen venting against said mega-corp.

    Now we have some little tiddler taking on the much maligned huge media corps, will these same people decry the use of the patent system?

  16. Jeff 11

    Worthless patent

    Prior art all over the place, including the www, e.g. animated gifs with an onhover attribute. Pursuing this will be a tremendous waste of time and money.

  17. Jean-Paul

    Why go after the publishers?

    Also why go after the publishers? They are only making use what is part of the DVD standard and haven't introduced anything new.

  18. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    I so do hate being wrong

    ... every time I think this whole farce can't get any more stupid.

  19. ooops


    "In short, it's a clickable image map with a moving image."

    In short, has been around for a long time. Think animated GIF maps on web pages. I wonder if they'll try and sue every web designer in the world. Greedy fucktards.

  20. User McUser

    What does this patent have to do with DVDs?

    Claim #4 reads: "The apparatus of claim 3, wherein the controllable video image generator comprises a robot mounted video camera."

    Last time I checked, none of my computers or DVD players have a "robot mounted video camera".

    Seriously, look at the pictures in the patent and tell me how this is related to DVDs. This case needs to be dismissed and a hefty fine levied against the plaintiff for wasting the court's time.

  21. Daniel B.


    My PS3 is guilty of "patent infringement"?

  22. Michael C

    Prior Art

    I have an Audio CD from 1993 that has a data partition on it in addition to the tracks, and when placed in a Mac (running System 8), it displays a very DVD-like menu system including movind images that are to be clicked to launch into the music video, or even launch AOL to the artist's custom content page there. This idea was not new or novel when patented, sorry.

  23. O RLY

    Error in subheader?

    Shouldn't that read "All your clickable vids _are_ belong to us"?

  24. FozzyBear

    Lesser of three evils

    An obvious patent troll taking on the media giants based on a patent that should have found it's way into an industrial shredder.

    The only way I can see this being a win in any way is…..

    Oh Crap there is no innocent in this is there

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