AT&T accuses Cox of making 'billions' off infringed patents

AT&T (NYSE: T) is suing Cox Communications, claiming the cable operator has infringed on a wide range of patents covering technologies relating to everything from digital video recorders to IP voice service to broadband.

The telecom giant, which filed suit in a Delaware federal court Friday, Aug. 29, claims the infringements date back to 2009. And despite numerous attempts to negotiate with Cox, the MSO has never paid any royalties.

"Despite years of protracted negotiations, Cox has sought to avoid payment for its infringement by repeatedly delaying and rescheduling negotiations," wrote AT&T lawyers in the complaint (hat tip: Ars Technica). "Given every opportunity, Cox has failed to provide substantial arguments for either non-infringement or invalidity of AT&T's patents. Cox's conduct constitutes a steadfast refusal to take a license, even though Cox generates billions of dollars in revenue every year through its use of AT&T's technologies."

AT&T is claiming Cox violated seven patents in all, including patent No. 5,809,492, which enabled its Cisco-made Explorer 8000 and 8300 DVRs to "create, organize, identify and resolve potentially conflicting program recording requests," and No. 6,118,976, which allows a single device to tune both analog and digital content streams.

Three of the patents involved relate to Cox's IP-based phone service, while another covers the transmission of data using "multiple RF channels" over modems implementing the DOCSIS 3.0 standard.

As Ars Technica notes, AT&T is usually on the other end of patent infringement litigation, while Cox has a fairly recent history of fighting hard in such patent battles, notably beating back Verizon (NYSE: VZ) in a fight over VoIP patents in 2008.

For more:
- read this Reuters story
- read this Ars Technica story

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