ZapMedia filed the suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Marshall, Texas. "The complaint alleges that ZapMedia Services' property is being exploited in a manner which is unlawful, and by law ZapMedia Services is therefore entitled to a reasonable royalty on Apple's revenues related to the infringement," ZapMedia lawyer Steven G. Hill of the law firm Hill, Kertscher & Wharton LLP said in a statement.
ZapMedia said it filed the suit after multiple attempts to negotiate with Apple starting in June 2006 through the fall of 2007. During the attempts, the company said it made Apple aware of the patents and said the intellectual property was available for licensing.
"When someone takes our vision and our intellectual property without a license after several attempts, we have no option but to protect it through every means available to us," said Robert J. Frohwein, general counsel of ZapMedia.
An Apple spokeswoman said Thursday the company doesn't comment on pending litigation.
Beginning in the late 1990s, ZapMedia Inc., the predecessor of ZapMedia Services, developed a system and method for distributing media assets to devices via a portal synchronized with the devices, the plaintiff said. ZapMedia later obtained two U.S. patents, No. 7,020,704 and No. 7,343,414.
The original company met with major technology and media companies, including Apple, and described its ideas. Apple launched the iPod MP3 player with an integrated iTunes application in October 2001 and the iTunes online store in April 2003.