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Inventor sues Slingbox maker for patent infringement

Wireless speaker system maker says he notified company of alleged violation in March 2005. Sling Media says lawsuit is without merit.

The inventor of a wireless speaker system has filed a lawsuit alleging that Sling Media's Slingbox infringes on his patent.

Stuart Mershon is the owner and creator of a system that transmits audio signals from a home audio source to a remote speaker via a wireless telephone network, according to his complaint filed January 5 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

Privately held Sling Media is one of the better-known makers of "place-shifting" products, which move consumers' content from device to device. The Slingbox plugs in to a user's TV and sends the feed over the Internet to a PC or Web-enabled device. This allows people to watch television from anywhere they can connect to the Internet.

Mershon said in the complaint that Sling Media has sold at least 500,000 Slingboxes. He notified Sling Media of his belief that the Slingbox violated his patent in a letter on March 4, 2005, Mershon said in his complaint.

Jason Krikorian, co-founder and senior vice president of business development for Sling Media, denied Mershon's allegations on Thursday.

"We are supremely confident in our position that the suit is totally without merit," Krikorian said.

Mershon has asked the court for unspecified damages, according to the suit. His attorneys did not immediately respond to an interview request.