Several companies including Apple, AT&T, Napster and Gracenote have found themselves on the receiving end of a patent infringement lawsuit launched by Tune Hunter. The suit alleges that the named companies have all infringed on Tune Hunter patents that describe using an electronic device to listen to and then identify songs — much like the Shazam application on the iPhone and other smartphones.

The Inquirer reported that the patent in question, titled Music Identification System, described “a method for marking the time and the name of the radio station in portable device such as a key holder, watch, cellular phone, beeper or the like which will allow the user to learn via internet or regular telephone the name of the song, artist and/or music company by matching the stored data with broadcast archive.”

Tune Hunter claimed that the companies named in its lawsuit have been involved in violating its patent by either developing applications without first gaining permission to use the steps identified in the patent, or by helping to distribute the applications.

The company filed its suit in US District Court in Marshall, Texas, which is well known for favoring plaintiffs in patent infringement cases. Tune Hunter is asking the court to compel the companies it named to stop infringing on its patent, and also wants damages and compensation for legal expenses.

Posted by: Eelco Rol