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Gemstar throws book at Digeo, Charter

Mon, 10/16/2006 - 8:24am
Jeff Baumgartner, CED

Gemstar-TV Guide went on the offensive Friday, claiming that interactive guide technology from Digeo Inc. infringes on certain Gemstar IPG patents.

The case, filed in the Federal Court in the Central District of California, targets Digeo's "Moxi" guide. Digeo corporate cousin Charter Communications, "by deploying unlicensed Moxi guides, is also liable," Gemstar TV Guide claimed.

Charter and Digeo are both linked to Paul Allen.

Gemstar-TV Guide said it filed the suit after licensing discussions between it and Digeo broke down, and only after Digeo filed antitrust litigation against Gemstar-TV Guide. On the latter, Gemstar said it believes Digeo's antitrust claims "are without merit."

"Digeo's refusal to negotiate a patent license with us, and its decision to file suit against us, left us no option except to pursue legal remedies to protect the value of our intellectual property," said Gemstar-TV Guide EVP and General Counsel Stephen H. Kay, in a statement.

The case marks a litigious return for Gemstar, which had fought IPG patent spats for years against guide rivals such as Pioneer, whose set-top and IPG software is now under Aptiv Digital Inc., and Scientific Atlanta. Those cases have since been settled.

An official for Charter said the MSO will not comment on the most recent case until it has a chance to fully review it. Digeo officials were not available for comment by Monday's deadline.

Digeo also has deployments with operators such as BendBroadband, Comcast, NewWave Communications and Sunflower Broadband, but they were not mentioned in the suit. A Gemstar-TV Guide spokesperson said Charter was named because it is the largest customer of Digeo's Moxi guide.

Digeo, which claims to have software powering about 400,000 media centers, announced last week it had obtained three new patents for its TV and digital video recorder guide and user interface, including the use of the guide's "dual-axis" interface.

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