TiVo CEO Shull: ‘We Have Hundreds of Patents We Believe Are Valid Against Comcast’

New chief executive spells out tech company’s strategy explicitly — “We’ll continue [to sue] until we have a reasonable business conversation”
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Credit new TiVo CEO and President Dave Shull — he doesn’t beat around the bush with jargon and euphemism.

Asked about TiVo’s three-year-old patent war with Comcast by investors Wednesday during TiVo’s second quarter earnings call, he detailed the strategy behind the tech company’s grindingly slow--and expensive!--progress in the sprawling legal fight, in a clear, concise way none of his predecessors had. 

Just as it did last month, when a seemingly minor TiVo victory in the second of three ongoing International Trade Federation complaints compelled Comcast to take down a seemingly even more minor text feature from its X1 user interface, TiVo plans to win by attrition, Shull explained.

“Over time, and it'll take time, I think they'll be at the point where they substantially start to hurt their consumer offering. And so that that's a long-term commitment for us for litigation," Shull told investment analysts.

Related: TiVo Claims Another Favorable ITC Ruling Against Comcast

“From my point of view, we have hundreds of patents that we believe are valid against Comcast," he added. "For better, for worse within the ITC venue, we're having to do these a few at a time. But we'll continue to do so until we get to a reasonable business conversation.”

Shull also noted that during the second quarter, Canadian cable operator Shaw Communications re-upped its IP licensing deal with TiVo to cover BlueSky TV, which is based on a licensed version of Comcast’s X1 platform.

“This is just another example of deployed X1 syndication partners who have an IP License for this product," Shull said.

He also noted that IP licensing revenue was up 27% for TiVo in Q2.

“We have successfully negotiated deals with all of the major pay-TV operators in the United States, Shull added.

For the second quarter, TiVo reported revenue of $176.2 million, up from $172.9 million in the comparable quarter of 2018. It also beat consensus estimates by 9%.

This was the first quarterly earnings report for TiVo with Shull at the helm. The new chief executive noted that at his last employer, The Weather Channel, he also oversaw a split and subsequent sale—a job he’s now tasked with, as TiVo looks to separate its IP licensing and products businesses.

"I think on the product side, a lot of customers have been relieved that they will no longer be dealing with an IP entity,” Shull explained. “And so that's been kind of the general tenure of the conversations, which is sort of excitement around some other creative partnerships.”

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