HSN Secures 'Shop by Remote' Patent

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Two days after rival QVC disclosed plans to offer an interactive TV shopping application, HSN announced that earlier this month it was awarded a patent covering aspects of its own Shop by Remote service.

HSN was awarded U.S. Patent No. 7,752,083, "System for Improved Interactive Television Processing," on July 6, 2010. The patent covers many of the proprietary aspects of the HSN Shop by Remote platform, according to the shopping channel, and provides for a "transactional environment" between a server and one or more display devices.

"We intend to explore all appropriate business strategies to generate value from the issued patents, which may include direct monetization via non-exclusive licensing arrangements," John McDevitt, vice president of advanced services for HSN, said in a statement.

HSN's Shop by Remote app, launched in 2006, is currently available in more than 30 million homes through Comcast -- which has enabled the app for 14 million subscribers to date -- as well as Dish Network, Verizon Communications' FiOS TV and Time Warner Cable Oceanic in Hawaii.

HSN Shop by Remote

QVC is working with interactive-TV developer Ensequence on an on-screen shopping application based on CableLabs Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format specification. The companies had said they expected to deploy their T-commerce app with Comcast sometime in early 2011, but earlier this week the MSO said it is only considering the QVC app and does not have specific deployment plans at this point.

Meanwhile, although Ensequence had previously developed an EBIF-based "Shop by Remote" application for HSN in 2008, according to HSN it has not been activated with a distributor. The EBIF app HSN has deployed with Comcast was developed by Ericsson.

In addition to the patent covering "Shop by Remote," HSN has been awarded U.S. Patent No. 7,756,758, "Method and System for Improved E-Commerce Shopping," which covers presentation of multiple video product presentations via a live feed as well as related prerecorded segments.

HSN, based in St. Petersburg, Fla., is an operating segment of HSN Inc., which is 33% owned by Liberty Media. Liberty owns 100% of QVC.

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