Comcast Gets Federal Circuit Win Against TiVo

Court upholds Patent Trial and Appeals Board ruling invalidating ‘696 search patent
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Comcast won yet another ruling in a three-year-old, vastly complicated patent dispute with TiVo.

The Federal Circuit upheld an earlier ruling by the Patent Trial and Appeals Board, which declared Patent ‘696 invalid because it was, er, “obvious.”

According to the U.S. Patent Office, patent ‘696 relates to “processing a search query entered by a user of a device having a text input interface with overloaded keys.”

“We’re pleased with the ruling,” a Comcast rep said in an email to MCN.

TiVo, which is in the process of splitting its IP licensing business from its products operation, has declared Comcast’s unwillingness to pay tribute to be an existential threat to the former enterprise. Under new CEO David Shull, the tech vendor has pledged to keep filing patent disputes in an attempt to force Comcast into the position of having to disable product features.

“Over time, and it'll take time, I think they'll be at the point where they substantially start to hurt their consumer offering. And so that that's a long-term commitment for us for litigation," Shull told investment analysts over the summer.

“From my point of view, we have hundreds of patents that we believe are valid against Comcast," he added. "For better, for worse within the ITC venue, we're having to do these a few at a time. But we'll continue to do so until we get to a reasonable business conversation.”

As for Comcast, this latest win validates a legal strategy of seeking positive rulings in with the Patent Trial and Appeals board, a body that often rules against IP licensors, then having those rulings validated by federal courts. 

Updated: TiVo emailed the following statement to MCN: “We are not deterred by this decision. We will always do whatever we can to protect our patents and have confidence in the strength of our portfolio which consists of 5,500 issued patents and pending applications worldwide. We will continue to fight for TiVo’s innovations.”

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