Cablevision infringed Verizon patent, trade agency says

A US trade agency said it will let stand a judge’s finding that Cablevision Systems infringed a patent owned by Verizon Communications and will consider banning imports of set-top boxes used by Cablevision.

Verizon filed the patent-infringement complaint last year at the US International Trade Commission, seeking an order that would block imports of set-top boxes by Cablevision. The company was cleared by the judge of violating four other Verizon patents, and those findings also were upheld.

The infringed Verizon patent relates to a method for accessing the Internet through a television set-top box. Verizon‚s FiOS fibre-optic Internet and TV service competes with Cablevision and online video companies for customers in the New York market.

The claim asserted against Cablevision also is part of an unrelated civil dispute between Verizon and ActiveVideo Networks. A trial judge in that case ruled in May that the claim was invalid. The ActiveVideo case is being tried in federal court in Norfolk, Virginia.

“This ruling is a significant win for Cablevision,” Jim Maiella, a spokesman for the company, said. “The ITC rejected four of Verizon’s five claims in the case, and the underlying patent in the fifth claim had already been invalidated by a Virginia court, which late last month rejected a motion by Verizon to reconsider that decision.”

Robert Varettoni, a spokesman for Verizon, said the company had no immediate comment.

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