IP litigation as competition: OpenTV, Nagra file another patent suit against Netflix

For the third time since 2012, Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) is the target of a patent suit filed by Nagra and OpenTV, both owned by Swiss company Kudelski SA. The suit involves four patents related to digital TV services.

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The amount of damages being sought was not disclosed.

Kudelski has filed two prior suits against Netflix, the first in 2012 involving seven patents, and the second in 2013 related to Netflix's expansion into the Netherlands. The company holds over 3,000 patents related to digital television, according to a TechCrunch article.

Nagra declined to comment to FierceOnlineVideo regarding its ongoing legal matters.

Despite its voluminous portfolio, this likely isn't just a grab at licensing fees, a la patent trolls for whom suits of this nature are bread and butter. Instead, "this appears to be more of a directly competitive case for OpenTV," TechCrunch's Ingrid Luden wrote.

OpenTV, which was spun out of Sun Microsystems and Thomson Multimedia and became a Nagra subsidiary in 2010, holds 800 of Kudelski's patents. Nagra says on its website that it has 120 pay-TV operator customers using its multiscreen solutions, including OpenTV's middleware products.

Kudelski's subsidiaries have been pretty active on the intellectual property front as of late. Last week, OpenTV and Nagra filed suit against Apple over five patents related to accessing digital content on mobile devices.

Netflix will report its first-quarter earnings next Monday, April 21.

For more:
- TechCrunch has this story
- law360 has this story (reg. req.)
- see this release

Related articles:
Rockstar, patent consortium targeting Android, drops suit against Huawei
Court tosses shareholder lawsuit against Netflix
AT&T told to pay $27.5 million after losing patent infringement case