Rovi has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Comcast in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.
Tom Carson, president and CEO of Rovi, laid out the issue, saying that Comcast had stopped paying to use its technology.
“For over a decade, Comcast built its business using Rovi’s patented technology, which it licensed for a fixed term,” he said. “Comcast’s decision to continue using Rovi’s pioneering technology as an unlicensed infringer is simply intolerable. After numerous attempts at negotiations, Rovi was left with no choice but to defend its intellectual property from unlicensed use. Rovi has taken this action to protect not only its patent portfolio, but also its stakeholders and licensees. While we are disappointed that Comcast remains unlicensed, we believe it needs a licence to offer many of its personalised discovery features to its customers.”
In its filings, Rovi asserts infringement by Comcast, together with its set-top box suppliers, of 14 US patents that together deliver features to Comcast customers. These include the way that Comcast implements remote recording, AnyRoom DVR and X1 search. Rovi seeks both an injunction barring continued infringement and damages to compensate it for the harm inflicted by that infringement.
“Over the past quarter century, Rovi has invested over a billion dollars in research and development for its products and intellectual property to create one of the world’s largest media and entertainment patent portfolios comprised of more than 5,000 issued patents and pending applications worldwide,” the company said.
“Today, Rovi’s intellectual property is broadly licensed throughout the North American pay-TV industry and by eight of the top 10 US service providers, including the world’s largest pay-TV provider, AT&T, in addition to Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications. At the end of 2015, more than 180 million pay-TV subscribers around the world relied on the entertainment discovery experiences enabled by Rovi’s intellectual property.”
Rovi has not changed its financial estimates for 2016, which were issued on 11 February and anticipated possible litigation with Comcast. Its estimates planned for legal expenses and excluded any licensing or advertising revenues from Comcast after 31 March. Rovi’s patent-licensing business makes up about half of its revenue.
The news comes as Rovi is reportedly carrying out talks to acquire TiVo. Rovi has a market value of about $1.7 billion, and in the past, Apple, Google and Microsoft have pursued the company, famed for pioneering the DVR concept.
The two companies would have more than 6,000 issued or pending patents.