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Radio broadcasters in Wilmington, Delaware, are bracing for an extended legal battle over the automation technology that has become the backbone of their radio stations’ operations.
Mission Abstract Data LLC, also known as DigiMedia, filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware against Beasley Broadcasting, Greater Media, CBS Radio, Cox Radio, Cumulus, Entercom and Townsquare Media for alleged patent infringement. In all, over 900 radio stations are involved in the lawsuit.
Observers in the industry argue that the automation systems employed by the stations were already in place well before the first of the patents was applied for back in 1994. At least two broadcasters who were also named as respondents to the case are denying the legitimacy and basis of the claims.
In the complaint, Mission Abstract Data, stated, “The plaintiff claims that it holds two U.S. patents that relate generally to a method and a system for operating radio stations wherein a digital database stores music that is programmed, played and broadcasted by the radio stations.”
Mission Abstract Data is asking for a jury trial to determine the damages, plus interest, for violation of the patents. The suit was filed by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP on behalf of Mission Abstract Data. The trial date still has to be scheduled.