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ITC decision delivers blow to Gemstar

Sun, 06/23/2002 - 8:00pm
Susan Rush

Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. has been on the warpath for some time now, claiming that its patent is being infringed on. The interactive programming guide developer suffered a setback late Friday, however, when a judge ruled against it.

An International Trade Commission judge has ruled that Gemstar competitors did not engage in unfair trade practices with regards to Gemstar's patented IPGs.

In February 2001, Gemstar alleged that EchoStar Communications Corp., Pioneer Corp. and Scientific-Atlanta Inc. were illegally importing set-top boxes that infringed on its patents. In his ruling, however, Paul Luckern, the ITC administrative law judge, said that Gemstar failed to establish that any of the respondents has infringed on its patents.

"We feel vindicated by the judge's ruling in our favor," said Paul Dempsey, president of the Business Solutions Division at Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. Dempsey did acknowledge that the ruling is probably not the end of its fight with Gemstar. Gemstar plans to appeal the decision.

Gemstar has a similar lawsuit pending in federal court. This is not the end of the road for Gemstar's battle, but the ITC's decision may likely set the stage for the federal suit's outcome.

Gemstar has other cases pending, but if the company fails to win, IPG floodgates are likely to swing wide open.

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