Comcast hit with another TiVo patent lawsuit

Gavel on top of cash
Comcast and TiVo have been locked in an ongoing patent infringement battle since 2016. (alfexe/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

TiVo owner Rovi has served Comcast with another lawsuit alleging the pay TV provider’s cloud and multi-room DVR features infringe on TiVo’s patent portfolio.

The patent suit, filed with the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, extends to Comcast’s DVR and non-DVR set-top boxes as well as broadband gateways.

 “We believe Comcast’s Xfinity X1 continues to infringe Rovi’s cloud and multi-room DVR patents - a vital component of home entertainment. Rovi has invested over a billion dollars into our innovative patent portfolio and products, and we are extremely proud of our patent portfolio of over 1,000 issued patents in the US.,” said Arvin Patel, executive vice president and chief intellectual property officer at Rovi, in a statement.

“Litigation is always a last resort but we will continue to take every necessary legal action to ensure that Comcast fairly compensates Rovi for its use of our patented innovations. We have a responsibility to our stakeholders, licensees and customers to protect our intellectual property.”

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Light Reading obtained a copy of the lawsuit, which applies to a series of patents, granted between 2007 and 2012. Rovi is specifically targeting Comcast technologies including the X1’s program guide and DVR as well as the X1 Sports app and app integrations including Netflix and YouTube.

Comcast seemed unfazed by this latest salvo in Rovi/TiVo’s patent war against the provider.

"Rovi has in recent years deployed its increasingly obsolete patent portfolio in an unsuccessful litigation campaign seeking to charge Comcast and our customers for technology that Rovi did not invent," a Comcast official said in a statement obtained by Light Reading. “While we haven't had an opportunity to review Rovi's latest complaint, we will continue to defend ourselves against allegations we determine to be meritless."

Comcast and TiVo have been locked in near-constant patent disputes since Comcast let its license lapse at the end of the first quarter in 2016. Since then, TiVo and Rovi have pursued multiple cases at the International Trade Commission along with multiple district court cases in New York, Massachusetts and California. Comcast has challenged many of these suits by pursuing reviews with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Patent Trial & Appeal Board.

TiVo CEO Raghu Rau said during his company’s fourth-quarter earnings call in February that he’s encouraged by recent changes to PTAB rules that make the PTAB process more equitable to inventors like Rovi.

“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,” said Rau, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.