While TiVo has slapped a number of big media companies with patent infringement lawsuits -- winning a big one last year against Dish TV, the DVR and interactive TV systems provider has itself been hit with several suits alleging that it has infringed on the patents of others.
The latest to file suit against TiVo is Digital CBT LLC (DCBT). The firm alleges that TiVo has violated a patent related to video streaming technology that was issued in 1998, a year after TiVo was formed.
TiVo has made a priority of protecting hundreds of patents that it utilizes for DVR systems, as well as enhanced TV platforms that deliver interactive and on-demand services to pay-TV subscribers, both in the U.S. and abroad.
Last year, a U.S. Appeals Court upheld a lower-court decision that Dish TV had violated TiVo patents for the DVR service it offered to subscribers. Dish then agreed to pay TiVo close to $600 million to settle the case without further litigation.
But the suit from DCBT turns the tables on the 14-year-old DVR company. It alleges that TiVo is violating a patent entitled “System and Method for Capturing and Transferring Selected Portion of a Video Stream in a Computer System.”
The suit lists eight TiVo DVRs and related products that DCBT claims violate its patent rights and has requested that the U.S. District Court in Delaware order TiVo to stop offering the products in the marketplace. Furthermore, it urged the court to force TiVo to “notify all of its customers and users of the infringing system … to cease all such infringing actions.”
TiVo has until Jan. 9 to respond to the DCBT complaint.
The lawsuit follows one filed earlier this year by Microsoft. That also alleges patent infringement by the DVR maker. In a revised complaint filed last month, Microsoft cited two patents that claim TiVo is violating, including one related to electronic program guide technology that was issued in 1996, a year before TiVo was formed. The other, which was filed in 1995 and issued in 1998, relates to interactive TV technology.
The Microsoft suit, filed with the U.S. District Court for Northern California, is currently on hold until a decision is issued for a similar complaint filed by the software giant with the U.S. International Trade Commission.
Separately, TiVo is preparing for at least two trials expected to begin early next year that will decide patent infringement charges that it has brought against AT&T and Verizon.