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ITC needs more time on Gemstar patent lawsuit

Tue, 03/19/2002 - 7:00pm
Anne Kerven

A U.S. International Trade Commission judge delayed until June a decision in a patent-infringement lawsuit Gemstar-TV Guide filed against nearly 10 companies.

Citing the case's complexity, Judge Paul J. Luckern's order extends until June 21 at the latest an initial decision on whether or not Gemstar's Interactive Program Guides patents were violated. The order also extends the Commission's investigation deadline until Sept. 23, 2002. A decision originally was due March 21.

The June decision will be reviewed by the ITC, as will the decision to delay.

Gemstar alleges the companies infringed the IPG patents it holds with its StarSight Telecast Inc. unit, by importing set-top boxes with the IPG in them.

The company names EchoStar Communications Corp., Pioneer Corp., Pioneer Digital Technologies Inc., Pioneer New Media Technologies Inc., Pioneer North America Inc., Scientific-Atlanta Inc. and SCI Systems Inc.

EchoStar spokeswoman Judianne Atencio says the company remains anxious for a decision from the ITC, and the position will continue to delay its presentation to a jury on patent cases pending in North Carolina and Georgia. EchoStar's antitrust case will not be affected and that case is progressing, she says.

S-A Senior VP and General Counsel William Eason said the company had expected a ruling tomorrow, but, "This is a complex case with a very large volume of documents, evidence and other submissions to be reviewed by the judge. Therefore, we can certainly understand his need for additional time."

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