CD-burning software prompts patent suit

A small storage company says its patent covers basic aspects of technology for burning CDs. It sues Roxio--and other companies may be next.

A small California storage company filed a patent suit late Friday against software maker Roxio and said the dispute will likely expand to cover other hardware and software companies involved with CD-ROMs.

Optima Technology filed the suit in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, claiming that several Roxio products infringe on Optima's patent for a "recordable CD-ROM accessing system."

The patent covers software that allows disparate computing systems to access data stored on a recordable CD, Optima said in a statement. Optima's patent was infringed in several standards adopted by the Optical Storage Technology Association (OSTA), which have been incorporated in a number of CD-ROM hardware and software products, according to the statement.

"Optima asserts that certain of these industry standards is covered by its patent, and if a company uses those OSTA standard specifications for CD-burning software, then they infringe Optima's patent," according to the statement, released by Optima's law firm, Los Angeles-based Holland & Knight. "Optima seeks to enforce its patent and to receive damages from any hardware or software company using their technology, beginning with Roxio...Optima believes most every company in the CD-burner industry may be infringing."

Holland & Knight attorney Robert E. Lyon said action against other companies would depend on the outcome of the Roxio case. A win for Optima would likely prompt competitors to seek licensing agreements with Optima, he said. "If Roxio takes a license, I presume other people will, too," he said.

Representatives of Roxio and the OSTA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Roxio's Easy CD Creator software has been one of the most widely used applications for burning music and data to recordable discs, although the popularity of the software has waned since such functions were incorporated in the latest versions of the Windows and Macintosh operating systems. Roxio's most recent project has been to revive file-swapping service Naptster as a legal music download service.

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