Comcast Loses SCOTUS Ruling in TiVo Battle

High court upholds International Trade Commission’s decision to ban the import of infringing X1 set-top boxes
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The U.S. Supreme Court denied a Comcast appeal in the cable company’s sprawling four-year patent infringement battle with TiVo/Xperi.

According to Bloomberg Law, the high court denied to review Comcast’s appeal of a March federal court ruling, which in turn, had upheld an earlier ban issued by the International Trade Commission (ITC) on Comcast X1 set-tops that were determined to have infringed on two TiVo patents.

Also read: TiVo Claims Appeals Court Win Against Comcast

The patents pertaining to this most recent SCOTUS ruling—one of which deals with setting remote DVR recording via smart phones—have expired. But Comcast’s appeal was focused on the process. The ITC ruling banned the importation of CommScope and Technicolor set-tops that allegedly infringe on TiVo patents. Comcast is arguing that its set-tops don’t actually infringe on patents until they’re connected in subscriber homes.

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Comcast is predicting that TiVo will win future ITC rulings over other patents.

Also read: TiVo’s New Holding Company: Merger Will Have ‘No Impact’ on Comcast Litigation

TiVo, which inherited the disputed patents when it merged with Rovi Corp. in 2015, has been battling Comcast in multiple legal jurisdictions, over dozens of patents, since 2016 in an effort to force the No. 1 U.S. pay TV operator to resume paying it technology licensing fees.

Despite the ongoing legal costs, TiVo believes Comcast’s holdout, which began in March 2016, is an existential threat to its intellectual property business. TiVo’s expressed legal strategy has been to battle Comcast over as many patents as possible, winning as many fights as is necessary to make the operator settle.

TiVo Corp. was just acquired by technology company Xperi in a $1.1 billion merger, and much of the TiVo corporate counsel that has led the legal fight against Comcast, including chief intellectual property officer Arvin Patel, have been given golden parachutes.

But the newly combined Xperi Holdings, which will operate a TiVo-branded technology products business separately from an IP operation that controls 11,000 patents, plans to keep battling Comcast in court.

“There will be no impact,” an Xperi rep said in a terse one-sentence statement, when asked earlier this month by Next TV how the merge might affect Xperi’s ongoing legal strategy. 

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