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Netflix vs BlockBuster: Rental DVD Giants clash over silly patents

Netflix wants to shut Blockbuster online DVD rental service. Netflix has already sued Blockbuster based on charges that BlockBuster violated business model patents held by Netflix.

Imagine Microsoft patents "pay online, and download software instanly" business model and then sues Macromedia Adobe, Google, Symantec and all others for copying their "innovative" software selling model. This Microsoft lawsuit may be an imagination but Netflix has actually filed a suit on similar "Business Model" patents.

One of the Netflix patents calls for subscribers to pay a monthly fee to select and rent DVDs from the Netflix Web site and to maintain a list of titles telling Netflix in which order to ship the films.

One of the Netflix patents covers the method by which Netflix customers select and receive a certain number of movies at a time, and return them for more titles. The second patent allows subscribers to keep the DVDs they rent for as long as they wish without incurring any late fees.

Netflix has sued rival DVD rental chain Blockbuster for launching a similar online rental service in 2004, even when BB was aware that Netflix had obtained a patent for its business method and was seeking a second, but willfully and deliberately violated the existing patent.

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