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Warner Brothers accused of pirating antipiracy technology

Warner Bros., the motion picture studio in Los Angeles, and several others have been sued for stealing an antipiracy technology patent.

The claim comes from a German company called Medien Patent Verwaltung (MPV). According to new infringement lawsuits filed against Warner Bros., Technicolor and Deluxe in New York and Germany, MPV says that in 2003 it introduced the studio to a method of marking films with a distinctive code so it could track back sources of piracy to the exact theater in which an unauthorized copy originated.

MPV said it has been trying to get Warner Bros. to pay for use of the technology since it allegedly began incorporating the invention in prints throughout Europe in 2004.

“We disclosed our antipiracy technology to Warner Bros. in 2003 at their request, under strict confidentiality, expecting to be treated fairly,” MPV said in a statement. “Instead, they started using our technology extensively without our permission and without any accounting to us. However, we had taken care to obtain patents to protect MPV’s technology, and we are now in a position where we must assert our rights.”

Warner Bros. declined to comment on the dispute.