APPLE HAS lost a legal battle against OpenTV, the company that provides Linux-based middleware for some of the world's biggest TV platforms, including BSkyB in the UK.
The German lawsuit, which dates back to 2014, is the latest in a long line of intellectual property suits brought by OpenTV, which has been offering services to TV providers since the mid-nineties.
OpenTV successfully alleged that both the iPhone and the iPad contain elements of its intellectual property in their streaming technologies.
"The claim is predominantly valid and well founded," the Dusseldorf court confirmed in the ruling.
The OpenTV 5 Connectware, which launched in 2012, marked the first time the company had combined the ability to present interactive middleware and streaming from DVB broadcasters as well as streaming and on-demand IP providers in a single package, offering video-on-demand, IPTV, DVB and home DLNA in a Linux-based HTML5 shell.
It is not known if the dispute is over this technology or the previous OpenTV 4 system, which was the first to enable HTTP Live Streaming for video-on-demand.
Parent company Kudelski bought OpenTV in 2010 to add to its roster of streaming and other TV tech innovations that most of us use without ever realising. In the mid-nineties it launched in the UK as a branded interactive service called "Open", on Sky's Analogue platform, one of the first examples of what was possible in a post-Teletext (albeit dial-up) age.
According to Reuters, Apple is yet to comment on what action it will take, how it intends to comply with the ruling and if it will appeal. However, the judgment sets a legal precedent for similar action in the US courts which is also pending.
In the US, OpenTV, which was originally founded through a merger or Thompson and Sun's efforts in the field, struck a deal with Cisco in 2014, after which time it began its litigation against Apple.
In 2003, the company was accused of breaking the rules of the Free Software Foundation, in a separate legal case. µ
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