OpenTV Sues Rival Liberate


OpenTV Corp. said it filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against rival
Liberate Technologies Thursday.

Liberate and OpenTV both market middleware software and
interactive-television applications to cable and satellite providers.

OpenTV said it alleged in the complaint that Liberate has infringed two of
its patents.

One of the OpenTV patents related to 'carouseling,' or the repetitive
distribution of interactive-TV programs, OpenTV said in a prepared

The second patent pertains to how an interactive-TV application is loaded,
executed, minimized or deleted.

Liberate officials said Thursday that they hadn't yet reviewed the complaint
in detail, but 'we have no reason to believe' Liberate infringes on the two
OpenTV patents, CEO Mitchell Kertzman said in a prepared statement.

The infringement suit comes as OpenTV and Liberate are battling to secure
distribution agreements with cable operators.

While OpenTV touts that its middleware has been deployed on more than 20
million set-tops worldwide, most of its distribution is overseas.

Liberate leads OpenTV in the U.S. market, where its affiliates include
Insight Communications Co. Inc., Charter Communications Inc. and Comcast Corp.
EchoStar Communications Corp. uses OpenTV middleware, but the company hasn't
reached any distribution deals with major cable MSOs.

Shares in Liberate and OpenTV dropped slightly Thursday.
Liberate stock dropped 26 cents, closing at $7.05 per share, while OpenTV shares
fell 6 cents, closing at $5.41 apiece.