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TiVo, Sonicblue quit legal wrangling

Sun, 11/10/2002 - 7:00pm
Duffy Hayes

Late Friday, digital video recorder makers TiVo and Sonicblue announced that the two were putting their legal differences aside, and dismissing the patent infringement claims each had filed against the other.

Specifically, each side will dismiss intellectual property infringement complaints filed in U.S district court in northern California, which originated in December after Sonicblue secured a patent for developing devices that can pause and playback live television programming. Sonicblue intended to protect the patent by filing suit against TiVo, prompting TiVo to file suit later in January for a "multimedia time warping system" patent. But with Friday's announcement, each of these suits now ends without resolution.

The companies explained their action through a joint statement, citing a more pressing need to grow the DVR category.

For Sonicblue, which sells digital video recorders under the ReplayTV brand name, its legal wrangling with segment leader TiVo may be over, but the company still faces the prospect of continued action though the courts on other fronts. Sonicblue is currently fending off a suit from entertainment companies like MGM, Disney and three TV networks, which have taken issue with ReplayTV's ability to skip commercials with the press of a button, as well as its capability to send copies of recorded content via the Internet.

As for TiVo, the company continues to sign up retail outlets across the country, in an effort to boost sales for its latest TiVo Series2 DVR in advance of the upcoming holiday season. The latest to sign on: Circuit City. TiVo announced that its line of recorders would be available in the more than 600 Circuit City retail stores nationwide.

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