TiVo owner Rovi is escalating its patent fight against Comcast from the state of California to the federal government.
Rovi today filed a complaint against Comcast in the U.S. International Trade Commission, just days after filing a patent infringement suit with the U.S. District Court, Central District of California. Both filings cover patents related to Comcast’s X1 platform including features such as the X1 Sports App, multi-room DVR features, and set-top box integrations of apps like Netflix.
"For more than a decade, Comcast partnered with Rovi to enable its customers to watch what they want, when they want on TV. However, because Comcast refuses to pay licensing fees to use our technology, its customers are being charged more for fewer features, including no access to critical DVR features such as remote recording. As a result, Comcast customers are the only ones that are unable to hit 'record' with a simple tap or swipe from their provider's app when they are outside of their home,” said Arvin Patel, executive vice president and chief intellectual property officer at Rovi, in a statement. "It is unfortunate for Comcast customers that they continue to pay for features that have been removed with no possible work-around or alternative solution."
Rovi said that nine out of the top 10 largest pay TV providers in the U.S. currently license TiVo technology. But the company said that it is optimistic that Comcast will come to the table and pay the appropriate licensing fees.
This is not the first time Comcast and TiVo have been at odds before the ITC, which previously established an exclusion order after it found Comcast had infringed on Rovi’s intellectual property.
When Rovi earlier this week filed its latest patent infringement suit against Comcast, the cable provider seemed unfazed.
"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. “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 ITC along with multiple district court cases in New York, Massachusetts and California.