ITC to investigate Verizon's patent claims on Cablevision imports

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is considering a patent infringement complaint brought by Verizon against Cablevision Systems and will decide whether to block digital set-top boxes and software imported by Cablevision as Verizon has requested.

The case hinges on Verizon's claims that the set-tops and software infringe on five of its patents covering such features as downloading videos and providing functions for games, local weather and social networking. Verizon is embroiled in a vicious competitive struggle with Cablevision in the New York City metro area where both providers are pulling out all the stops to attract new subscribers to their services.

The case has been labeled "the Matter of Certain Digital Set-Top Boxes and Components Thereof, 337-712," hardly a name that conjures thoughts of Agatha Christie. Cablevision has its own name for it: "a procedural step that has no bearing on the merits of the case" and one that is based on Verizon's "difficulty competing on the merits in the marketplace."

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