WWE recently received a lawsuit from tech firm SITO Mobile over technology relating to the infrastructure of the WWE Network streaming service. SITO claimed that WWE violated existing patents for a streaming media technology.

PW Insider is now reporting that WWE responded to the suit as well as filing a countersuit of their own against SITO. The plaintiffs in the initial suit filed against WWE claimed that they were damaged by the direct infringement of WWE and will continue to suffer irreparable harm due to the promotion’s use of their patented streaming tech.

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 claims that the delivery method WWE uses for streaming is a direct ripoff of theirs, down to the specific way the data travels from place to place. The description in SITO’s suit does sound similar to the way the WWE Network functions.

WWE has denied these allegations in their response to the lawsuit. The wrestling giant says SITO failed to show a valid claim because the suit doesn’t meet the requirements for a patent.

“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.”

In the countersuit filed by WWE against SITO, WWE said that they were the ones who suffered damages due to what they believe are claims without any grounds. WWE lawyers went through the initial suit claim by claim to refute the allegations against the company.

“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 for SITO to compensate them for costs and attorney’s fees. The matter is still pending in the courts as of this time. We will continue monitoring this story here at Ringside News.

Do you think WWE ripped off another company’s technology? Talk about it in the comments!

Michael Perry

Journeyman human. Stints with 247Sports, F4WOnline, and RingsideNews. Taking bumps and paying my dues. Pittsburgh loyalist.

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