Microtune Gets Cable-Modem-Tuner Patent


Microtune Inc. said it has won a patent for its cable-modem single-conversion
tuner, sending fair warning to a handful of companies that it believes could be
infringing on the technology.

The patent, No. 6,169,569, covers the fundamental architecture behind
Microtune's Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification-based
single-conversion tuners, as well as 'any' cable modem that uses that
technology, the company said.

Microtune said the architecture has been housed in more than 5 million
cable-modem tuners.

Looking outside of the cable-modem arena, technology under the new patent --
which is used in Microtune's '4700-' and '4900-series' products -- is also
targeted to interactive set-tops and wireless Internet appliances.

Microtune president James Fontaine said his company will seek licensing
agreements with other cable-modem-tuner manufacturers prior to taking any legal

Fontaine alluded that Toshiba America Consumer Products, Samsung Electronics
America Inc., Thomson Consumer Electronics and Alts are among cable-modem-tuner
makers that could infringe on Microtune's patent.

Microtune has already demonstrated that it is not afraid to cross legal
swords with larger companies. In January, it filed a lawsuit against chip giant
Broadcom Corp., claiming that its competitor's 'BCM3415' microchip infringes on
its tuner-on-a-chip patent.

At the time, Broadcom called that lawsuit 'frivolous litigation' designed to
prevent the rollout of its own silicon product.