Charter Sues Verizon Over Video Patents

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Charter Communications has fired back at Verizon Communications, alleging in a federal lawsuit that the telco’s FiOS TV service infringes four patents related to video-on-demand service delivery.

Charter filed the suit Dec. 31 in the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Virginia. The company is asking for unspecified monetary damages “but in no event less than a reasonable royalty,” as well as a permanent injunction barring Verizon from using the patented technologies.

Verizon spokesman David Fish said the telco believes the suit is without merit.

The two companies are engaged in other patent-related litigation, with a Verizon lawsuit pending in a Texas federal court alleging Charter violates the telco’s voice-over-IP patents.

Last October Verizon lost an identical suit against Cox Communications after a federal jury said the cable company did not infringe six Verizon patents related to Internet phone systems. Verizon had sought more than $400 million in damages.

The Charter-owned patents at issue in the recently filed lawsuit cover subscription-VOD pricing and video-distribution methods. They are:

-- U.S. Patent No. 6,684,400: “Method and Apparatus for Providing Dynamic Pricing Services for an Interactive Distribution System”;

-- U.S. Patent No. 6,314,573: “Method and Apparatus for Providing Subscription-on-Demand Services for an Interactive Distribution System”;

-- U.S. Patent No. 6,477,182: “Data Transmission and Apparatus”; and

-- U.S. Patent No. 6,826,197: “Data Packet Structure for Digital Information Distribution.”

The docket number for the case in the Eastern District of Virginia court is 3:08-cv-00850. District Judge Robert E. Payne is assigned to the case.

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