Advanced Television

Entropic and other STBs hit by patent claim

April 22, 2014

By Chris Forrester

DirecTV, Entropic, CyberTan and other set-top box suppliers have been named in a patent action by Canadian semiconductor company ViXS Systems and its US subsidiary, ViXS USA. ViXS is alleging that the technology companies are importing set-top boxes and other components that infringe four of its patents. The action seems to be a ‘tit for tat’ response to an action started by Entropic in May last year against ViXS.

The new complaint was filed April 17 with the US International Trade Commission. The full complaint states: “these companies have engaged in unfair trade practices by the importation, sale for importation, and sale after importation of certain set-top boxes (STBs), gateways, bridges, switches, and adapters and components thereof that infringe one or more claims of United States Patent Nos. 7,301,900 (the 900 patent), 7,099,951 (the 951 patent), 7,200,855 (the 855 patent), and 7,406,598 (the 598 patent) (collectively, the Asserted Patents).

The ITC complaint seeks to stop the importation into the US and sale after importation of a range of products, all of which include Entropic Multimedia over Coax (MoCA) chips or Entropic System-on-Chips (SoCs). For example, the ITC complaint lists several DirecTV STBs that include Entropic MoCA chips. In addition to the ITC action, ViXS will seek damages in US Federal Court through a separate filing.

ViXS’s ITC complaint was filed after Entropic had sued ViXS in May 2013 in San Diego federal court for infringement of two Entropic patents. In Entropic’s lawsuit, Entropic states that its patents are essential to the MoCA standards and yet accuses ViXS’s MoCA chips of patent infringement asking for unspecified relief. In that same case, ViXS filed counterclaims against Entropic, including claims for breach of contract, interference with business relations, and unfair competition. These counterclaims were based in part on Entropic’s filing of its San Diego suit while ViXS was in the midst of an initial public offering.

We filed our complaint with the US International Trade Commission to stop Entropic from continuing to use our proprietary technology,” said Sally Daub, ViXS President and CEO. “We now look forward to presenting our case to the Commission and plan to vigorously pursue the substantial remedies the Commission may issue.”

ViXS says it holds 437 patents in the media processing/broadcasting and consumer electronics industries and has shipped more than 30 million processors to date. ViXS says its Xcode Pro300 family of chipsets is ideal for Ultra HDTV infrastructure equipment.

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