NEW YORK -- Shares of Blockbuster Inc. fell yesterday as the video-store chain operator said it has filed antitrust counterclaims against online DVD rental company Netflix Inc., alleging Neflix's lawsuit against Blockbuster's online service is based on unenforceable patents that Netflix got through deceptive practices in an attempt to monopolize the online rental business.
In April, Netflix sued Blockbuster for patent infringement.
``For Netflix to claim exclusive rights over subscription movie rentals is like a fast-food restaurant trying to patent selling hamburgers through a drive-through window," said Marshall B. Grossman, a lawyer for Alschuler Grossman, Stein & Kahan in Los Angeles, which is representing Blockbuster.
The counterclaim was filed in federal court in San Francisco. It also claims that Netflix failed to inform the Patent Office of previous patents and previous business methods of other companies despite a legal duty to make those disclosures.
``We have made our claim, we believe that Blockbuster has infringed on our patented business method," said Steve Swasey, Netflix director of corporate communications. ``We intend to vigorously defend our patents."
Shares of Blockbuster sank 14 cents, or 3 percent, to close at $4.55 on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of $3.19 and $10.29.
Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix shares gained 46 cents to end at $27.54 on the Nasdaq. The stock has traded between $14.75 and $32.12 during the past 52 weeks.