Content discovery, video recording and audience insights company TiVo has added a feather to its patent cap, even as the drama with Comcast drags on. Investors reacted favourably in the wake of announcing that its multi-year licensing deal with Google has expanded to include YouTube TV.
As reported, the agreement covers Google’s use of Rovi patented video discovery technologies worldwide, and offers a broad licence for Google’s products and services across internet-based platforms and devices. YouTube TV will use the platforms to build customised, next-generation digital entertainment solutions for users around the globe, it said.
“Rovi is continuing to expand its technology and patent portfolio to improve the discovery of entertainment in all different types of environments,” said Samir Armaly, EVP, Worldwide Intellectual Property and Licensing at Rovi. “We are happy to work together with Google to move forward and support technology advancements that further consumers’ ability to find and enjoy content on the device of their choice.”
The development is an interesting one given that TiVo has filed additional lawsuits against Comcast over the US cable giant’s X1 platform, following a TiVo-favourable ruling by the US International Trade Commission in December.
In the new round, TiVo is alleging that Comcast is infringing on patents impacting key features in X1’s next-gen UX, like voice search, pausing and resuming shows on different devices, restarting live programming from the beginning when joined in progress, advanced DVR recording and various content discovery. All of these are considered significant differentiators for the operator’s Xfinity pay-TV service.
Comcast has maintained that X1, which it has licensed to other MSOs, was developed completely in-house by its engineers.
“Comcast engineers independently created our X1 products and services, and through its litigation campaign against Comcast, Rovi seeks to charge Comcast and its customers for technology Rovi didn’t create,” it said in a statement. “Rovi’s attempt to extract these unfounded payments for its ageing and increasingly obsolete patent portfolio has failed to date. And as we have in their other suits, we will continue to aggressively defend ourselves.”
Clearly, TiVo relies on licensing for a significant portion of its profit, and is virulent about defending it. Investors see its patent activities as key to the company’s viability, given that Shares of TiVo (TIVO) shot up 2.8% after it announced the expanded patent deal with Google.