SONICblue, TiVo Trade Suits


The patent battle between digital-video-recorder rivals has escalated.

TiVo Inc. recently filed suit against SONICblue Inc., owner of the ReplayTV
Inc. DVR line, charging that SONICblue violated its wide-ranging DVR 'Multimedia
Timewarping System' patent.

The patent, awarded to TiVo last May, covers technology that lets users
record one television show while playing another and the process for pausing
live TV, fast-forwarding, rewinding, instant replays and slow motion.

The Jan. 23 action follows SONICblue's suit filed in December charging that
San Jose, Calif.-based TiVo had violated its patent covering search and playback
for TV shows.

That lawsuit sought an injunction barring TiVo from making products with the
disputed technology, plus damages.

SONICblue, meanwhile, is expected to announce its fourth-quarter earnings

The company furthered its technology this week with a licensing deal to
supply dual-deck VCR technology to Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. The specific
terms of the deal were not released.