Gotuit Media Corp. said it has become the exclusive marketing agent for Pause Technology LLC, the holder of a patent that allows viewers to pause live television programs.
Gotuit said the deal will give it sole marketing and licensing rights to the technology, which it hopes to house inside set-top boxes, satellites and TV sets that employ personal video recording technology. The company's video division will market the patent while also providing a license in conjunction with the company's TV personalization service.
Pause Technology said it originally filed for the patent in 1992. It was issued in 1995 and reissued based on "additional and stronger claims" last year. One of those modifications would enable a car radio to take on TiVo Inc.-like dimensions, allowing listeners to pause live radio programs, Gotuit chairman James Logan said.
Logan said TiVo and SONIC-blue have not licensed Pause Technology's patent for their existing PVR software products. He said Gotuit hopes to ink licensing deals with those companies before potential patent-infringement lawsuits enter the picture.
TiVo, for one, didn't sound worried about the possibility of any lawsuits stemming from the Pause Technology patent. TiVo CTO Jim Barton noted that numerous live-TV pausing patents exist today, and each technology varies in its overall quality. By the same token, TiVo has been aggressively filing its own patents related to live-television pause technology, he said.
"We think that we have everything that we do covered," Barton said.
Logan said Gotuit has signed on one manufacturer to license Pause Technology's software, but declined to name the company.
One possibility could be Motorola Broadband Communications Sector, which made an undisclosed investment in Gotuit earlier this year and plotted plans to fuse Gotuit's TV software application with DCT-5000 advanced digital set-top boxes. Gotuit will demonstrate its TV-personalization software at Motorola Broadband's booth during next month's National Show in Chicago, a Gotuit spokeswoman said.
Gotuit's client application is designed to rest on top of software from the likes of TiVo Inc. or SONICblue Inc., slicing and dicing a program into digitally labeled segments using metadata. That would enable a viewer to call up a specific story on a time-shifted newscast or sort out a baseball game inning by inning.
Gotuit's PVR software is expected to launch late this year.