Westwood One has filed suit against Local Radio Networks for patent infringement over LRN's voicetracking system. Filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Fort Wayne, IN, the suit alleges that LRN violated WWO's patents for its voicetracking system by offering the similar cloud-based Radio Velocity Control (RVC) automation technology. LRN says RVC provides custom localization and station owner controls that integrates into most existing playout systems.
The suit claims that LRN has targeted former Westwood One employees for hiring, who "have knowledge of the workings of Westwood's patented program" and alleges that they "are presently attempting to use this knowledge to lure customers away from Westwood by informing customers in the market that the LRN program is comparable."
“LRN’s employees Chris Reeves, Jonathon Steele, Chris Hatton, Matt Caldaronello and Patrick Crocker, are all former Westwood employees,” the suit says. “These employees have knowledge of the workings of Westwood’s patented program. Furthermore, these employees are presently attempting to use this knowledge to lure customers away from Westwood by informing customers in the market that the LRN Program is comparable. Such acts constitute willful and deliberate infringement, entitling Westwood to enhanced damages and attorney’s fees.”
WWO argues that “continuing to make, use, sell, offer for sale, or import the LRN Program” after being served with the suit “constitutes willful infringement.” It also accuses LRN of intending its broadcast affiliates to infringe upon the patent by using the LRN Program.
LRN has not yet filed a response to the complaint with the court. However the company issued a statement Wednesday afternoon calling the suit “legally and factually baseless,” adding that it developed and uses its own technology and intends to vigorously defend itself against the claims.