A Florida company named CustomPlay yesterday filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida over the Siri-powered ‘What Did He/She Say?’ feature used in tvOS on the fourth-generation Apple TV.
The phrase can be used while watching a movie to quickly rewind 15 seconds with subtitles temporarily turned on to help users catch any dialogue they may have missed.
CustomPlay alleges that the feature violates its invention, U.S. Patent No. 6,408,128 B1 for “Replaying with supplementary information a segment of a video”.
The patent was first filed for in 1998 and granted to CustomPay in 2002.
According to MacRumors, CustomPlay has requested a jury trial but the case has yet to be assigned to a judge. The patent details a remote control capable of activating a replay function way of a dedicated “What?” button, key or other function key to cause the system to:
i) rewind or skip backwards the playing of the video a system default or a viewer specific previously defined amount, e.g. 20 seconds
ii) turn on the subtitle to a system default or a viewer specific previously selected subtitle language.
CustomPlay alleges Apple has used and continues to use its patented technology in tvOS without a license even though it was aware of the patent, with court documents revealing the firm mailed letters to Apple CEO Tim Cook and three iTunes executives in July 2014.
There is no indication of Apple responding to the letters.
MacRumors has determined that CustomPlay is affiliated with non-practicing entity Nissim Corporation, which sued Apple last September for allegedly infringing upon seven patents related to DVD specifications.
The two companies reached an unknown settlement in December.
CustomPlay is seeking damages of an undetermined amount from Apple, plus legal costs.