Advanced Television

Comcast wins another battle in TiVo patent war

September 10, 2018

By Chris Forrester

A long-running patent dispute between TiVo and cable giant Comcast has seen Comcast again emerge victorious at a US Patent Trial and its subsequent appeal.

The Patent Board says TiVo’s Patent 9,172,987 is invalid. The case was brought by Comcast against Rovi (see below for patent description) in May 2016.  The patent relates to a way to modify the layout of onscreen programme guides and is part of a dispute between the two companies in federal court in New York. Issues on the patent were stayed pending patent office review, which has now been completed.

The series of legal actions between the two litigants go back some time, and opened with a law suit in Texas in 2016 and contained in a 174-page affidavit.

The lawsuit reportedly alleges that twelve years ago Comcast took a license to Rovi’s patent portfolio, but that licence expired on March 31st 2016, without being renewed. Rovi says that Comcast has failed to remove any of its products and services from the market and also continues to provide those products and services, all of which are now infringing because of the expiration of the patent licence agreement.

The patent specifically covered in this latest decision was granted originally to Rovi Corp in 1998, covers: “An interactive television programme guide is provided. Programme guide display elements are arranged and styled using markup language documents. These markup language documents may also indicate and select programme guide functions. The programme guide interprets the markup language documents and generates the display screens and programme guide functionality without user intervention. The program guide may also be updated by supplying new markup language documents that modify display screens and programme guide functionality. The markup language documents may be supplied by a main facility or a television distribution facility.”

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