Rovi/TiVo’s extended patent battle with Comcast marked another chapter when the International Trade Commission once again agreed to investigate Rovi’s latest complaint.
The ITC’s announcement comes after Rovi in April filed a complaint against Comcast with the federal agency 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.
The ITC hasn’t made a decision on the case yet. An administrative law judge will hold an evidentiary hearing to make an initial determination as to whether there is a violation. Rovi is requesting that the ITC issue a general exclusion order, or a limited exclusion order, and cease and desist orders.
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.
"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."
Comcast responded to Rovi by calling its patent portfolio “increasingly obsolete” and patent litigation attempts “meritless.”
For TiVo, the escalated court battle with Comcast comes at a tricky time when the company is attempting to split its products and IP licensing businesses into separate companies.
“As video consumption continues to shift beyond traditional Pay TV into internet, social media and mobile domains, we believe it is important that the IP Licensing business can diversify beyond traditional video content discovery and recording domains, into new consumer applications and functionalities,” TiVo said a news release.