It’s sort of hard to be surprised when torrenting is the focus of a lawsuit, but this time it’s a little easier. The Tranz-Send Broadcasting Network is suing BitTorrent Inc. for patent infringement, of all things. While your typical torrenting lawsuits argue that BitTorrent and its software are accessories to copyright infringement, this lawsuit argues that BitTorrent is a patent infringement by its very nature.
Tranz-Send argue that BitTorrent infringes on at least one of their 2007 patent’s claims. TorrentFreak put the spotlight on this language present in the patent’s abstract:
A server/client media file distribution system is provided in which the server system is adapted to receive transmission requests from clients, status information from a network, and protocol information from each client.
The server, based upon this information, adaptively transmits a given media file stored therein to one or more clients using the optimal transmission speed and/or network protocol based on the network status information and protocol information
While Tranz-Send can argue that BitTorrent software does these things, it’s ultimately a matter of whether or not BitTorrent and Tranz-Send use these means towards a similar end. Should the lawsuit end in Tranz-Send’s favor, BitTorrent could be required to pay royalties Tranz-Send. One can only speculate the outcome for now, but if the ruling is for Tranz-Send, you can be sure that torrenting will get a lot more complicated.