TiVo is touting a U.S. Appeals Court ruling as a win in its ongoing patent battle with Comcast.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed jurisdiction for the International Trade Commission (ITC) to ban Comcast set-tops that it determines have infringed on TiVo patents.
TiVo has filed numerous lawsuits in multiple jurisdictions against Comcast dating back to 2016, trying to get the cable company to resume paying it licenses on pay TV technologies. And in this battle, TiVo has had most of its success in the confines of the ITC.
In late 2017, for example, the ITC ruled that a remote recording feature included in Comcast’s X1 platform violated patents held by TiVo’s Rovi division. Comcast worked around the issue by removing the feature from the X1 platform. And the patent under dispute has since expired.
But TiVo has two more batches for patents, in two other ITC filings, that will soon be ruled on by the ITC.
“The Federal Circuit affirmed the ITC’s Final Determination and what we at TiVo have known for years—Comcast infringed Rovi’s patents and its business is subject to the ITC’s jurisdiction,” said Arvin Patel, executive VP and chief intellectual property officer at Rovi Corporation, in a statement.
“This ruling maintains the ITC’s import ban against Comcast’s set-top boxes and showcases the strength of Rovi’s battle-tested patent portfolio,” Patel added. “We understand the value of our patented technology and why Comcast has relied on it heavily since launching its X1 platform. But Comcast cannot continue to use Rovi’s patented technology without paying for a license. We are hopeful today’s announcement will encourage Comcast to put their customers first and license our IP just as the other top 9 U.S. Pay-TV providers do.”
Comcast said in a statement the ruling is irrelevant: “The Federal Circuit Court’s ruling applies to expired patents that have already been invalidated by the patent office and therefore are irrelevant to what Comcast offers customers today. Rovi is misleading the public by suggesting that there is an import ban on any Comcast X1 set-top boxes--that’s just not true.”
TiVo has publicly stated that its strategy is a kind of war of attrition. By filing so many lawsuits, I so many places, covering so many patents, it hopes to win enough rulings to disrupt Comcast and bring the cable company to heel.
TiVo has conceded that not having the No. 1 U.S. cable company pay it licensing fees is a profound existential threat to its IP licensing business.