REALNETWORKS GRANTED FUNDAMENTAL STREAMING MEDIA PATENT, ENHANCING HELIX LICENSING PROGRAM
Over 60 Million Helix-Enabled Devices Already Licensed
SEATTLE, WA April 24, 2006 RealNetworks®, Inc. (Nasdaq: RNWK), the leading creator of digital media services and software, today announced it has received a fundamental patent for streaming media technology and applications. The recently-issued patent (U.S. Patent No. 6,985,932, "Click-to-Stream") covers the core methods used when consumers select links to stream audio-visual media via web browsers and other media players. Reflecting Real's role as the pioneer of streaming media, the patent covers innovations going back to November 30, 1994, more than four months before Real introduced the groundbreaking RealAudio®, which transformed the Web by bringing streaming audio to the Internet for the first time.
The Click-to-Stream technology will be a cornerstone of Real's comprehensive technology licensing program, the Helix® Community (http://www.helixcommunity.org), where RealNetworks' core streaming media encoding, delivery and playback technology is developed, managed and licensed. Click-to-Stream joins a portfolio of over 35 patents related to the world of Internet media delivery. Real has more than 100 additional patent applications pending relating to digital media technology and services. Since its establishment in 2002, over 50 companies, including Nokia, Motorola, Novell, Red Hat, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, and Sun Microsystems, have joined the Helix Community and licensed Real's Helix DNA software and patented technology to build media-enabled products. Through 2005, Helix licensees shipped over 60 million handsets and consumer devices, up from 25 million the previous year.
"In 1994, the World Wide Web was a mute collection of words and pictures," said Rob Glaser, chairman and CEO of RealNetworks. "In 1995, Real gave it a voice. That innovation was a shot heard ‘round the Web, influencing the evolution of whole industries aimed at delivering voice, music and video to consumers. This fundamental new patent recognizes our breakthrough innovation, and provides Real with an exciting opportunity to expand the Helix Community's role as the centerpiece of the digital media marketplace."
Real licenses the Helix DNA Client software, including Real's related essential patents, under both commercial and open source licenses. Companies that want a standard commercial license can use RealNetworks Community Source Licensing (RCSL). Open source developers can opt for the OSI-certified open source RealNetworks Public Source License (RPSL). These programs span the different needs and strategies of development and product organizations worldwide.
In addition, RealPlayer®, Rhapsody®, SuperPass™ and Real's Helix system software all contain Real's patented technology. Consumers, Internet portals, broadband, mobile service providers, and corporate enterprises using and promoting these or other Real products, and services are automatically licensed to use the RealNetworks patents embodied within these product and services.
About the "Click-to-Stream" patent
The "Click-to-Stream" patent covers the core methods used when an end user selects a digital media asset (audio and accompanying video or other metadata) to be played, causing digital packets of the selected digital media to be transmitted over an Internet Protocol network and received by the end user's playback device when playback begins prior to delivery of the entire digital media asset to the consumer's device. The patent applies whether the digital media is played back on a personal computer, mobile phone, or other hardware device. The patented "Click-to-Stream" method is most commonly initiated when an end user accesses media links from web browser pages, embedded multimedia advertising, and links managed by network- enabled software media players.
Real's history of innovation
For nearly 12 years, Real has been driving innovation in the streaming media market by introducing market-leading technologies, products and services. Real was the first to bring real-time sound to the Internet with the groundbreaking introduction of RealAudio and RealAudio Player in April 1995. Real extended this innovation into online video with the introduction of RealVideo® in 1997. Real was also the first company to offer an integrated music jukebox with the launch of RealJukebox® in 1999, the first to offer an Internet-based multimedia subscription service with the introduction of RealPlayer GoldPass™ in 2000, and pioneered the digital casual games market with the launch of the RealArcade® product in 2001. In addition, Real was the first company to reach 1 million paying subscribers for its premium audio and video services, including Rhapsody, RealArcade and SuperPass. Real continues to lead the paid content market, with more than 2.25 million paying subscribers for those premium services as of the end of 2005.
Helix is a digital media technology platform and a community for the standardization and expansion of digital media technology. The Helix platform consists of source code for the creation, delivery and playback of digital media, as well as a set of interfaces for building media-enabled applications. Helix Community members are able to use this source code to build media-capable products with industry-leading technology and commonly used interfaces. The Helix Community offers source code and related patents rights for Helix DNA Client, Helix DNA Server and Helix DNA Producer under commercial community and open source licenses.
RealNetworks, Inc. is the leading creator of digital media services and software including Rhapsody®, RealPlayer® 10, and casual PC and mobile games. Broadcasters, network operators, media companies and enterprises use RealNetworks' products and services to create and deliver digital media to PCs, mobile phones and consumer electronics devices. RealNetworks' corporate information is located at http://www.realnetworks.com/company.