TiVo Adds Patent Suit Against Comcast in California

Latest Rovi Corp. action comes as Comcast litigator is named one of California’s top IP lawyers
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TiVo said it has filed yet another patent infringement lawsuit against Comcast.

Through its Rovi unit, the company said its latest federal complaint, filed in the Central District of California, covers patents related to “cloud and multi-room DVR features” offered by Comcast Xfinity pay TV set-tops and gateways.

TiVo didn’t specify which patent numbers were involved—or if any of the patents have already been subject to the company’s wide-ranging, seemingly endless legal quest to get Comcast to pay it technology licensing fees.

“We believe Comcast’s Xfinity X1 continues to infringe Rovi’s cloud and multi-room DVR patents — a vital component of home entertainment,” said Arvin Patel, executive VP and chief intellectual property officer at Rovi, in a statement.

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“Litigation is always a last resort but we will continue to take every necessary legal action to ensure that Comcast fairly compensates Rovi for its use of our patented innovations,” Patel added. “We have a responsibility to our stakeholders, licensees and customers to protect our intellectual property.”

Think of TiVo’s latest filing as simply putting more logs on the fire.

TiVo has been somewhat transparent about its legal strategy. The company is seeking to create as much legal action against Comcast as possible, around as many patents as it can. The aim is to put pressure on Comcast to either eliminate X1 features, or pay licensing fees.

The dispute dates back to 2016, when Comcast stopped paying licensing fees to TiVo.

“Comcast itself has been forced to remove certain functionality from Xfinity X1 and has been subject to an exclusion order after the ITC found it had infringed Rovi’s valuable IP,” TiVo said in a statement. “We are optimistic that Comcast will come to the table and pay the appropriate licensing fees to ensure their customers receive the best home entertainment services and features available.”

“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," Comcast replied in its own statement. "Rovi launched this campaign in April 2016 by asserting infringement of 15 patents — 14 of which have been held to be invalid and/or not infringed by Comcast, or have been withdrawn by Rovi. 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.”

Notably, TiVo’s latest filing comes as attorney Ashok Ramani, a partner in the firm Davis Polk, was named among the top IP lawyers in California by the Daily Journal.

Among Ramani’s recent career highlights, according to the Daily Journal, was defending Comcast in an eight-patent suit filed earlier by TiVo in the Central District of California. 

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