American entertainment giant Netflix has been sued by a patent troll over its offline download feature, barely two months after the company introduced it. A patent troll is generally referred to companies that do not produce own goods or services but obtain the rights to one or more patents in order get to profit by means of licensing or litigation.
Lawsuits were filed by Blackbird Technologies not just against Netflix but Soundcloud, Vimeo, Starz, Mubi and Studio 3 Partners for similar features. It alleges that these companies are at fault for encouraging unauthorised content duplication.
The lawsuits were filed at the Delaware federal court. The '362 patent is a rather dated patent law that in the past has been responsible for bringing out settlement cash out of big companies in such cases.
Netflix's download feature was introduced to users in November last year after months of speculation that the company would do so. However, this is for select content only.
Both Android and iOS users can spot a download button next to the play button. It allows users it to save the content to watch later on when the device may not be connected to the internet. A similar feature also appears in Souncloud, where users can save their current and future likes and playlists for offline listening.
Netflix, Soundcloud or any of the other streaming companies have not responded to the lawsuit yet and it is not known whether they will settle with Blackbird or go all the way to court.