Brazilian Court Enforces Preliminary Injunction Against Netflix

“DivX called the ruling ‘an important message from the Brazilian Judiciary to Netflix– and every other company that thinks it can infringe Brazilian patents with impunity.’”

BrazilDigital video company, DivX, scored a win in a Brazilian court after a judge ratified its expert report and enforced a previously-granted preliminary injunction against Netflix.

DivX sued Netflix for infringement of its Patent No. PI 0506163-6, which is directed to a “deblocking” tool implemented in High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC)-encoded files. According to DivX, Netflix’s streaming in HEVC infringes the patent.

In its brief to the court requesting enforcement of the preliminary injunction, DivX said the case is “the longest running patent infringement lawsuit in the field of information technology in Brazil,” having been filed in October 2020, and that this delay “can only be attributed to the Defendant’s purposeful delaying behavior.” A provisional injunction was granted in November 2020 and confirmed in modified form in May 2022. While Netflix was ordered to deposit the amount of the accrued fines into an account, it appealed and the court stayed the deposit until actual non-compliance could be demonstrated. DivX charged in its brief:

“Netflix is trying to suffocate DivX and drown the Judiciary, opposing unjustified resistance to the regular progress of the case in order to gain time – precisely because it has always known that it was infringing the patent – while the right on which the lawsuit is based continues to perish.”

The court appointed an independent expert this year to assess infringement, and the expert determined that Netflix’s implementation of HEVC technology used the DivX patent. According to a machine translation of the court’s decision, the court thus ratified the expert report, enforcing the preliminary injunction, and ordered Netflix to deposit approximately USD 3.27 million in accrued and retroactive fines with the court. The case will now go to a full trial.

DivX called the ruling “an important message from the Brazilian Judiciary to Netflix– and every other company that thinks it can infringe Brazilian patents with impunity.” The company also noted the court’s warning that “disrespectful behavior” will result in additional punitive measures, according to the translated document.

DivX is also suing Amazon in Brazil on the same patent. DivX said in a statement:

“Just last Friday, a court expert has also found that Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service, as well as some of its end-user devices sold in Brazil, infringe the same DivX HEVC patent. Since the Amazon case is being handled by the same court that just enforced the injunction against Netflix, it is hard to imagine that Amazon will not face an identical outcome.”

DivX is seeking injunctive relief against Amazon’s Prime Video and Amazon Web Services (AWS) and devices including Echo Show and Fire Stick.

Meanwhile, in the United States, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) recently vacated a win at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) for DivX on a patent covering “trick play functionality,” remanding the case back to the PTAB to determine factual questions relating to the prior art.

Image Source: Deposit Photos
Author: agphotography
Image ID: 465689898


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