Stingray Digital Group said it has filed counter claims against Music Choice, the rival music-over-multichannel programmer that, in June, sued Stingray for patent infringement after getting dropped by AT&T U-verse in favor of Stingray Music.
Montreal-based Stingray said it filed, on Tuesday, an answer and counterclaim against the Music Choice lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, where Music Choice filed its suit. Stingray Music USA separately filed a lawsuit against Music Choice asserting "claims of unfair competition, defamation, trade libel, tortious interference with existing and prospective contractual relationships, and unfair competition."
“As explained in our Complaint, Music Choice has displayed a pattern of trying to stifle new market entrants with false statements and unfair commercial practices,” Eric Boyko, president, co-founder and CEO of Stingray, said in a release. “Instead of disseminating false facts and filing lawsuits, Music Choice should use its resources to innovate its offerings and improve relations with its remaining customers and suppliers.”
Stingray also said in the release that the patents Music Choice asserted were invalid partly because of "certain prior art technology previously owned by a Music Choice subsidiary (subsequently purchased by Stingray in a share purchase transaction) of which the U.S. Patent Office was unaware during the prosecution of the patents." The Stingray Music USA lawsuit will seek monetary damages "for the harm it suffered as a result of Music Choice’s attempts to damage Stingray’s reputation and exclude it from lawfully competing in the U.S. market,” according to Stingray, which has also seen its music programming expand on Comcast Xfinity this year.
Music Choice through a spokesperson said the company had "received their notice of filing and are reviewing it. No further comment at this time." The programmer, established in 1991, is owned by a partnership among subsidiaries of Microsoft, Arris, Sony Corp. of America, EMI Music Publishing, Time Warner Inc., Comcast Cable Communications, Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable (now being transferred to Charter Communications, according to Music Choice).