Yesterday, Verizon Communications filed a patent-infringement case with the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington in an effort to block Cablevision from importing certain set-top boxes.

According to a story by Reuters, a companion suit seeking monetary damages was also filed by Verizon in Delaware. Both lawsuits asked that Cablevision stop selling the set-top boxes, which Verizon previously offered to license to Cablevision.

Cablevision and Verizon vigorously compete for customers in the New York metro area.

"It is becoming increasingly clear that Verizon is having difficulty competing on the merits in the marketplace, so they are resorting to filing lawsuits and pursuing regulatory bailouts,” Cablevision spokesman Jim Maiella wrote in an e-mail. “We obviously plan a vigorous defense."

A story today by said the lawsuit alleges that Cablevision is infringing on five of Verizon’s patents related to digital set-top boxes with advanced features, such as the ability to download videos or provision interactive features such as games, local weather and social networking.

“Each of these five patents is important to Verizon’s success in the highly competitive fields of digital video and entertainment services and communications services,” according to Verizon’s complaint in the Bloomberg story. “They ‘enable’ Verizon to offer more advanced and differentiated products and services than its competitors.”

More Broadband Direct 3/17/10:
•  Time Warner Cable pumps D3 into central New York
•  Verizon files patent-infringement case against Cablevision
•  Cox Business deploys online backup service to all markets
•  Jones/NCTI debuts broadband tech degree program
•  Latens updates IPTV middleware platform
•  In the media: Will 4G = tiering?
•  Google phone now works on iPhone's wireless system
•  Report: Mobile apps will outsell CDs by 2012
•  Broadband Briefs for 03/17/10