Burst.com (pinksheets|BRST) is a company that specializes in revenue generation via patent defense in the area of software for video and audio delivery over the Internet.While it has moved from Arizona to San Francisco and various other locations over its relatively brief history, it is presently located in Santa Rosa, California.

Burst was originally funded with investments from several major media players, including Southwest Bell (now AT&T) and the rock band U2. Burst burned through over $66 million dollars while developing their technology. At one point in the 1990s, they had over 120 employees, primarily engineers and software designers. Burst filed for its initial patents in 1988.

More recently, Burst.com has focused on enforcing patents it holds on "Faster-Than-Real-Time" delivery of audio and video content, which Burst obtained between 1990 and 1992. Additional patents have been obtained between 1988 - 2006. Burst began receiving IP licensing revenue on these patents beginning in 1994.

Some of these patents are considered controversial by some people, since the inventions and techniques they cover have now become commonplace. With the dawn of streaming media on the Internet, they are arguably software patents, which are controversial in their own right. It is believed by many that Burst.com is another company that is interested in patent trolling and looking to deep pocket corporations who have been successful in profiting off internet music services.

While Burst.com has some notable supporters like Robert X. Cringely, there are also a few [http://web.archive.org/web/20060423085236/http://playbacktime.com/2002/10/31/burstcoms-streaming-snake-oil/ critics] of the company and its patents. It is not clear how much revenue if any the company has generated through sales (versus through settlement of litigation).

In March 2005, Burst.com received $60 million as settlement in its suit against Microsoft over unauthorized use of its streaming media technology. In January 2006, Apple Computer filed an action for a Declaratory Judgement seeking to have Burst's patents declared invalid. In April 2006, Burst.com counterclaimed against Apple Computer with regard to Apple's potential infringement of Burst.com's patents on streaming video and time-shifting of video.

A "Markman" Claim Construction Memorandum and Order favorable to Burst was issued May 8, 2007. [http://www.burst.com/new/newsevents/Apple_Burst_markman_ruling.pdf]

In early November, the court invalidated 14 of Burst's claims, leaving 22 remaining. [http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1194602656144] On November 21, 2007, Apple Computer announced that it had called a truce in the legal feud between itself and Burst.com by agreeing to pay a $10 million lump sum in exchange for protection from current and future lawsuits. According to Apple, Burst would receive approximately $4.6 million after factoring in legal fees and other expenses associated with the April 2006 complaint.

Real Networks sued Burst.com on January 3, 2008.

For all of its current patent holdings and infringement suits, it is not clear what if any products burst has delivered into the market.

External links

* [http://www.burst.com/ Burst.com corporate web site]
* [http://www.burst.com/new/about/timeline.htm Burst.com historical timeline]
* [http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_17/b3981070.htm "BusinessWeek": Underdog Or Patent Troll?]
* [http://dir.salon.com/story/tech/feature/2002/10/29/microsoft_media_one/index.html Microsoft's media monopoly]
* [http://www.gendb.net/burst/investors_links.aspx?refid=t48&srcid=t48&sysid=0458582006021763_246_18_4-&catid=burst_investors Many links to articles on burst.com by a group of Burst investors]

* [http://messages.finance.yahoo.com/Stocks_%28A_to_Z%29/Stocks_B/forumview?bn=24325 Yahoo Burst board]
* [http://www1.investorvillage.com/smbd.asp?mb=389&clear=1&pt=m Investor Village Burst Board]
* [http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/07/11/21/apple_settles_burst_com_patent_suit_for_10_million.html Apple Settles With Burst]

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