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Business litigation: Florida software company takes on a giant

If you get on I-95 here in Brevard County and drive south along the coast for two hours or so, you will arrive in Delray Beach. The city is known for its dunes, wetlands and beaches, but might one day be known as the home of CustomPlay.

The movie software firm recently filed a patent infringement claim against one of America's biggest companies: Apple. CustomPlay says in its lawsuit that the infringement involves an Apple TV feature that enables users to rewind video, ask a question such as "What did he say?" and get a response in closed captioning.

Users of the fourth generation of Apple TV can rewind a few seconds of a movie or TV show and rewatch the segment with closed captioning temporarily enabled. The feature allows viewers who miss a few words of dialogue to quickly revisit the scene and then seamlessly resume normal viewing.

CustomPlay's owner says that the idea for voice- or remote-activated closed-captioning-enabled replay is his and covered in U.S. Patent No. 6,408,128 B1, granted 15 years ago.

The company's complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida says CustomPlay has software using the patent available on its website and also on Apple's App Store.

CustomPlay says it contacted Apple about a business relationship three years ago. It also says it believes Apple knows of its patent and went ahead anyway with an unlicensed copy of it in its most recent generation of Apple TV.

We do not know how this dispute will eventually sorted out, but we do know that the first step to take to protect your company's intellectual property is to discuss matters with an experienced business law attorney.

In Brevard County, you can contact Cantwell & Goldman, PA to talk about securing your rights and interests.

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