TiVo to Cisco: You Sue Us, We’ll Sue You!

by Gaurav Kheterpal on June 7, 2012

While we at TheTelecomBlog.com usually save our readers the annoyance of reading about who is suing whom and who is infringing on what patent. However, there are times then a story like this comes along, one that’s simply outrageous.

And it’s not Oracle vs. Google, Apple vs. Samsung or Yahoo vs. Facebook. It’s about Cisco vs. TiVo and the ridiculous game of – You sue us, we’ll sue you!

Cisco sued TiVo last Wednesday alleging that the latter refuses to grant a broad license for its technology due to the fact that it would interfere with TiVo’s ability to enter into lawsuits over its patents. And guess what – TiVo responded back in style claiming television set-top boxes made by Cisco Systems Inc. infringe patents related to digital-video recording services.

Cisco says it sells DVRs through its Scientific Atlanta division to companies including AT&T Inc, Time Warner Cable Inc and Verizon Communications Inc. Similarly, TiVo sells its DVR boxes and licenses its technology through companies such as Charter Communications Inc. and DIRECTV. The networking giant alleged that TiVo’s claims have caused “irreparable injury and damage”. Cisco also sought a court order to voids the TiVo patents or explicitly declare that Cisco and its DVRs are not infringing them.

Since TiVo relies heavily on patent litigation related to technology for recording television, a ruling in favor of Cisco could have been a massive setback for TiVo. In fact, the company estimates a net loss of $30 million on account of “substantial sequential percentage increases” in litigation costs and higher marketing spend.”

TiVo now claims that Cisco was fully aware of at least three of its disputed patents. The company is now seeking a court order barring Cisco from using the patents as well as unspecified monetary damages. With all due respect, TiVo has a troubled past when it comes to litigation.  Last May, TiVo settled a $500 million lawsuit with Dish after seven years of litigation. In January, TiVo settled a patent lawsuit with AT&T after the latter paid nearly $215 million as well as monthly licensing fees. Two months later, the company struck a secret deal with Microsoft to drop their patent-infringement lawsuits against each other.

And just in case I forgot to mention, TiVo has previously been engaged in patents suits with Dish Network, EchoStar, Motorola and Time Warner Cable as well. This isn’t TiVo’s first patent turf war and it’s surely not the last.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby:RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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