TiVo’s Rau: ‘Comcast Will Ultimately Pay a License for Our Innovations’

Tech company’s litigation cost increased by $11.3 million in 2018; prepares to separate IP and product businesses
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With fourth quarter sales dropping 21%, and the company plotting out the possible separation of its IP licensing and product businesses, TiVo remains committed to its patent war with Comcast.

“TiVo is fully committed to protecting its intellectual property from unauthorized use and we expect Comcast will ultimately pay a license for our innovations, just as its pay-TV peer companies do, and as Comcast itself has done in the past,” declared Raghu Rau, interim CEO of TiVo, during the company’s fourth quarter call Tuesday. (Transcript provide by Seeking Alpha.)

TiVo said its intellectual property litigation costs increased by $11.3 million in 2018, as it continues to battle Comcast in the International Trade Commission, district courts in New York, California and Massachusetts, as well as the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (PTAB).

Comcast won a series of PTAB rulings last year. Given the arcane nature of the conflict, the decisions gave the appearance, at least publicly, that Comcast had won the upper hand.

With Andrei Iancu, a former intellectual property litigator who once represented TiVo, now in charge of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Rau is confident TiVo’s appeal of those PTAB rulings will go the tech company’s way.

Rau noted that nine of the top 10 U.S. pay TV operators pay licensing fees to TiVo. Comcast stopped paying IP fees to TiVo back in 2016, kicking off the protracted legal battle.

Meanwhile, Rau also said TiVo’s strategic review of its business, initiated a year ago, was still ongoing. The company said during its fourth quarter 2017 earnings call in February 2018 that it was considering a sale of its assets.

On Tuesday’s call, TiVo conceded that it was exploring the separation of its IP licensing and product business to help expedite such a transaction. 

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