Blockbuster and NetFlix are still at it

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 either. 

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA
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