A Texan inventor has launched an audacious court case against TV-shifting hardware maker Sling Media, claiming a patent infringement.

Stuart Mershon claims the Slingbox, which uses the internet to rebroadcast TV content from a user's lounge to a PC or mobile phone anywhere in the world, infringes on a system he invented to transmit home audio signals to a remote speaker over wireless telephone networks.

The case could test the concept of "place-shifting" - the notion that technology can free consumers to view content at any location.

Whilst Mershon patented his technology a decade ago, some commentators give the inventor little chance of victory. He is claiming unspecified damages.

Sling Media, who we interviewed in October, recently inked a deal with mobile phone network 3 to make its services available in the UK, Denmark and Sweden. 

Its founder Jason Krikorian told CNET News.com he denied the infringement accusation.

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Published 19 February, 2007 by Robert Andrews

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