Broadcom Sues Netflix For Patent Infringement

Broadcom filed a complaint against Netflix for patent infringement. The patents “cover foundational technologies that are essential to various aspects of Netflix’s video streaming service and the systems that Netflix uses to support this service.”  The complaint was filed in the California Central District Court. Broadcom is represented by Hopkins & Carley.

Netflix allegedly infringed by “making, using, offering to sell, selling, and/or importing into the United States internet video streaming technology, software, and services that practice the inventions claimed in the Patents-in-Suit.” Broadcom additionally alleged that Netflix indirectly infringed upon the Patents-in-Suit by inducing its customers to infringe by using Netflix’s software.

Broadcom “produces…semiconductor and infrastructure software solutions.” Broadcom’s portfolio includes “highly integrated semiconductor chips that seamlessly deliver voice, video, data, and multimedia connectivity in the home, office, and mobile environments.” Broadcom alleged that Netflix was able to build its streaming service partly due to Broadcom’s patents. For example, Netflix allegedly used Broadcom patents to ensure reliable streaming for customers that can be delivered to a variety of devices. Additionally, Broadcom alleged that Netflix’s infringement resulted in fiscal damage to Broadcom. Broadcom chips are used in traditional set-top boxes, which have declined in use alongside the rise of streaming services like Netflix. Broadcom notified Netflix of its infringement multiple times and tried to get Netflix to license the patents, which failed.

Broadcom declared that Netflix infringed on patent ’079, entitled “Dynamic Network Load Balancing Over Heterogeneous Link Speed.”  The patent is for a “new approach for balancing transmission unit traffic over the multiple heterogeneous links that often connect computing platforms in a computer network.” The patent addressed issues from growing computer networks. Broadcom alleged that Netflix infringes upon Claim 1 of the ’079 patent for its content delivery network. According to Broadcom, Netflix “dispos[es]…the transmission units into flows.” Netflix groups these flows into first and second flow lists, as prescribed in Claim 1. The flows “correspond[] to a selected network link.” For instance, “each of the OCAs, and each of the file locations specified by a URL within each OCA, constitutes a ‘network link.’” Therefore, the first flow list is the OCA and the specific files that then go to a consumer to stream. Broadcom alleged that this directly infringes upon the process described in claim 1.

The patents-in-suit are U.S. Patent Nos. 7,266,079 (the “’079 Patent”); 8,259,121 (the “’121 Patent”); 8,959,245 (the “’245 Patent”); 8,270,992 (the “’992 Patent”); 6,341,375 (the “’375 Patent”); 8,572,138 (the “’138 Patent”); 6,744,387 (the “’387 Patent”); 6,982,663 (the “’663 Patent”); and 9,332,283 (the “’283 Patent”).

Broadcom has sought judgment in their favor declaring infringement by Netflix, preventing further infringement, an award for damages, an award for fees and costs and other relief. As determined by the court.