Judge Rules That Comcast Infringed On TiVo Patents

Some of Comcast’s new DVR and program guide features hit a little too close to home for TiVo, as an administrative judge has ruled that Comcast actually violated two of TiVo’s patents.

In April of 2016, Rovi Corporation (who would later purchase TiVo for $1.1 nillion) filed an official complaint with the International Trade Commission that claimed Comcast and its set top vendors Arris and Technicolor were infringing on six different patents. ITC Judge David Shaw ruled that violations indeed occurred with two patents, specifically ones involving “interactive program guide with remote access.”

According to TiVo, the problems arose when Comcast debuted their X1 video platform with several features strikingly similar to Tivo. Most notable was the way Comcast implemented remote recording, their search feature and their “AnyRoom” DVR. Comcast was using TiVo as their metadata vendor for the X1 platform, but stopped in January because of this dispute.

Speaking to the Law360 site, a TiVo representative said, “This ruling reinforces the need for Comcast to take the necessary licenses to our intellectual property.”

Taking features without permission is a point that’s especially important to Rovi, as they made over half of their revenue in 2015 from licensing deals alone. If Comcast wants to avoid a sales ban, they could very well now be on the hook for licensing fees.
Neither Rovi nor TiVo were strangers to patent battles (Hulu actually sued TiVo earlier this year, accusing them of stealing features) before they became one company, so it’s really no surprise they went after Comcast. It’s very likely that Comcast will challenge the ruling, and to a point they already have, counter suing TiVo for breaking a contract. Even though their initial complaint included six patents, Comcast being guilty of violating at least two will probably be enough to push for a settlement.



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Artie Beaty

Artie Beaty is a freelance writer from North Carolina who follows the world of streaming closely on a daily basis. Contact him at artiebeaty@cutcabletoday.com or on Twitter @AboutCharlotte.
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