Now that the Apple v. Creative
insanity has begun to die down, another equally outlandish lawsuit has
taken the crown. On August 17, 2006, Blockbuster filed a motion to dismiss an
injunction filed by NetFlix attempting to prohibit
Blockbuster from offering movie rentals online claiming Blockbuster infringed
on NetFlix patents for its distribution method.
The same San Francisco judge responsible for the NetFlix v. Blockbuster case,
US District Judge William Alsup, will now be responsible for the official proceedings
of Blockbuster v. NetFlix. Although NetFlix counsel has claimed that the newest
proceeding should be separate from the previous IP case, Judge Alsup claims
Blockbuster does indeed have enough evidence for an anti-trust case.
"As a result of NetFlix's purported monopolistic conduct, Blockbuster may
be forced out of the market, which would cede to Netflix virtually complete
control of the online-DVD market," Alsup wrote during the acknowledgement
letter to open the case. Since the same judge is handling both cases, the
most likely outcome is that NetFlix will either be found correct in its
assertion that Blockbuster has infringed upon its intellectual property, but is
subsequently a monopoly; or that Blockbuster does not infringe upon NetFlix IP
and thus NetFlix could not be a monopoly. Talk about damned if you do and
damned if you don't.
Of course things could go even more horribly wrong if Alsup finds NetFlix in
the position of a monopoly and that Blockbuster has infringed on no patents