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WWE FILES RESPONSE & COUNTERSUIT IN PATENT LAWSUIT OVER TECHNOLOGY UTILIZED FOR WWE NETWORK

By Mike Johnson on 2021-10-14 10:15:00

World Wrestling Entertainment responded to and filed a counter lawsuit against SITO Mobile R&D IP, LLC and SITO Mobile, Ltd., who filed a lawsuit back in May 2021 alleging that WWE, via the WWE Network streaming service infrastructure, have violated SITO's existing patents related to a “System and Method for Routing Media.”

The original lawsuit alleged:

On information and belief, and without SITO’s approval, authorization and license, WWE owns, controls, operates and uses a system for streaming media that includes the WWE Streaming Platform, as well as other WWE networks, systems, devices, components and/or services for streaming media, that practices and infringes the media streaming method recited in at least claim 49 of the ‘949 patent.

The plaintiffs also alleged that WWE is utilizing technology SITO have patented:

WWE streams videos using a network(s) of servers (“WWE Streaming Platform”). WWE uses Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (MPEG-DASH) and/or HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) protocols to stream video content. MPEG-DASH and HLS are HTTP-based adaptive bitrate streaming techniques that enable high quality streaming of media content over the Internet from web servers. The operation of MPEG-DASH and HLS are described in standards documents.

With MPEG-DASH and HLS, a video may be broken up into thousands of small HTTP-based file segments. Each segment contains a short interval of playback time of the video. The segments are encoded at a variety of different bit rates (speeds). After a video is selected to be streamed, the media player on the subscriber device is provided with a file that informs the player, amongst other things, how to obtain the segments sequentially and how to handle ad breaks (if any). As the video is playing, the subscriber device determines the bit rate that it can handle and requests a segment(s) encoded at that bit rate. The player plays the segments in sequential order and continuously requests segments until the player has received all of the segments that make up the video.

SITO alleged they have "been damaged by the direct infringement of WWE, and is suffering and will continue to suffer irreparable harm and damages as a result of this infringement" and are requesting a jury trial.

WWE's 32 page response to the lawsuit, filed on 10/5, as you might imagine, denied all of the allegations against the company, noting:

"To the extent a response is required, WWE denies that SITO is entitled to any of the requested relief. WWE expressly denies that it directly, literally or under the doctrine of equivalents, has infringed or is infringing any of the patents-in-suit; expressly denies that SITO is entitled to any award of damages, including supplemental damages for any alleged post-verdict infringement; expressly denies that SITO is entitled to pre-judgment and post-judgement interests; and expressly denies that SITO is entitled to costs of this action, including all disbursements, and attorneys’ fees. WWE specifically denies that SITO is entitled to any award of “supplemental damages for any continued post-verdict infringement” or post-judgment interest for the patents-in-suit that expired prior to the filing of the SAC."

WWE also argued that SITO's claims fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, are invalid because they fail to satisfy the "requirements for patentability", that they are time-barred from filing a claim, among other defenses. 

In their counter-suit WWE stated they have been damages by SITO filing a lawsuit against them and stated, "There is an actual, substantial, and continuing justiciable controversy between WWE and SITO regarding the infringement of any valid and enforceable claims of the patentsin-suit, and of the validity of the claims of the patents-in-suit."

WWE then denied, claim by claim, that the WWE Network does not perform or transmit data from its servers to its subscribers "as recited" by the patent violation allegations brought by SITO against the company.  WWE asked the Court for a jury trial and noted:

"WWE therefore respectfully requests this Court to enter a judgment declaring that WWE does not and has not directly infringed, contributed to the infringement of, induced the infringement of, or otherwise infringed under any provision of 35 U.S.C. § 271 any valid and enforceable claim of any of the patents-in-suit, and/or that the claims of the patents-in-suit are invalid for failure to comply with one or more provisions of the patent law of the United States, including but not necessarily limited to 35 U.S.C."

WWE is also asking the Court to rule that SITO  be responsible for the WWE's costs and "reasonable" Attorney's fees.

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