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TiVo fires back at Motorola in patent spat

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 2:48pm
Brian Santo

In the latest skirmish in an ongoing battle, TiVo has filed a patent infringement suit against Motorola Mobility and Motorola set-top customer Time Warner Cable.

The move counters a patent infringement suit Motorola Mobility earlier brought against TiVo.

TiVo has been in the center of a series of patent arguments going back nearly a decade, when the company decided to aggressively enforce its DVR patents, starting with the U.S. satellite broadcasters and moving on to the two biggest U.S. IPTV companies.

Back in 2004, TiVo sued both EchoStar and Dish Network for patent infringement; TiVo prevailed in 2008. With its patent position thus strengthened, TiVo turned its attention to AT&T and Verizon.

Reacting to TiVo, Motorola – which supplies set-tops to Verizon – sued TiVo for patent infringement. In 2010, Microsoft – which provides Mediaroom software for AT&T – also sued TiVo.

In January, AT&T settled its lawsuit with TiVo, agreeing to pay TiVo at least $215 million over the next few years. Then at the end of last week, Microsoft and TiVo agreed to drop their patent infringement suits against each other. TiVo said that dropping the litigation did not mean it is granting any patent rights to Microsoft, according to a report in The Associated Press.

Motorola Mobility (soon to be acquired by Google) and Verizon continue to fight, however.

And TiVo continues to fight, as well, with the latest result being the countersuit the company just filed against Motorola Mobility. And by including Time Warner Cable in the suit, TiVo is upping the ante, dragging one of the leading U.S. cable companies into the fray.

TiVo said the suit it filed covers three patents:

  • Patent 6,233,389: “Multimedia time warping system.”
  • Patent 7,529,465: “System for time-shifting multimedia content streams.”
  • Patent 6,792,195: “Method and apparatus implementing random access and time-based functions on a continuous stream of formatted digital data.”

The existence of the lawsuit was revealed in an 8K filing TiVo made with the SEC, first reported by Forbes.

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