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Tivo sues Motorola and Time Warner Cable

Another patent lawsuit
Tue Mar 27 2012, 12:06

SET TOP BOX MAKER Tivo has filed a lawsuit against Motorola and its digital cable box customer Time Warner Cable, alleging that the companies are infringing its patents.

Tivo's action is in response to a patent infringement suit brought against it by Motorola Mobility.

The Tivo lawsuit was revealed in an 8K filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. According to the complaint, which was picked up by Forbes , the set top box maker is alleging infringement of three patents. Patent 6,233,389 covers "multimedia time warping system", while patent 7,529,465 refers to a "system for time-shifting multimedia content streams" and patent 6,792,195 pertains to a "method and apparatus implementing random access and time-based functions on a continuous stream of formatted digital data".

Tivo is no stranger to lawsuits alleging intellectual property infringement. The company has been embroiled in a series of patent cases over recent years. This hardball legal strategy dates back eight years to when the set top box maker began to aggressively assert its patents by suing two of the largest US satellite broadcasters before teeing up court action against the nation's biggest IPTV outfits.

In 2004 Tivo sued both Echostar and the Dish Network for patent infringement and prevailed in 2008. With its patent position thus strengthened, Tivo turned its attention to AT&T and Verizon, reported Communication, Engineering and Design magazine.

This action spurred Motorola, which provides its own set top boxes to Verizon, to launch its own patent infringement lawsuit against Tivo. To make things even more confusing Microsoft, which developed Mediaroom software for AT&T, waded into the legal free for all in 2010 and also sued Tivo.

At the start of this year AT&T resolved its lawsuit with Tivo, agreeing to pay Tivo at least $215m. Following this settlement Microsoft and Tivo agreed to stand down from their pending patent suits against each other.

However, it is apparent that there is no end in sight yet for Tivo's legal actions against Motorola and Verizon. µ


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