I know this headline has little to do with the world of search but I always love to see stories of little guys taking swings at the large monopolies. Although DVD mail order company Netflix is getting bigger everyday, they are still small compared to Blockbuster. I was thrilled to see Netflix come on the scene a few years ago with their mail order DVD business model. Not only is it convenient to get your favorite DVDs sent to you in the mail and not have to go down to the local vide store to rent or return titles, it was awesome to see a service that did not rape you over late fees. Netflix was a definite challenge to Blockbuster as it fulfilled a need that Blockbuster was just too big and too slow to get to.
WebPronews reports today that Netflix filed a patent infringement lawsuit over Blockbuster’s Online service. You see it was shortly after Netflix started gaining fame that Blockbuster decided to offer a similar service and in doing so, offer it at a lower price to obviously attack the niche Netflix had found for itself. Interestingly enough the suit was filed the same day Netflix was awarded its business model patent. Ouch!
WPN goes on to report that the Netflix filing calls for an injunction to shut down its rival’s online rental service and punitive damages for the infringement. The patent mentioned in the suit covers the method in which customers choose DVD’s to rent, the number of DVD’s allowed at a time, and the amount of time given for their return – basically Netflix whole business model.
If the suite is successful, Blockbuster will either have to shut down its online mail order service or radically change it somehow. They already lost $588 million due to competition from Netflix. As a Netflix member myself and one who absolute despises big companies like Blockbuster that want to stomp out their competition, guess who I will be cheering for?