Microsoft Files Patent Infringement Lawsuit against TiVo

--Is Also Seeking to Intervene in Patent Infringement Litigation Between TiVo and AT&T

Microsoft has filed a lawsuit against TiVo in a San Francisco federal court, claiming that the DVR company has infringed upon two of its US patents--which cover technologies for securely purchasing and delivering video and for displaying programmable information respectively, Bloomberg reported yesterday. Microsoft, which claims that TiVo is illegally using the technologies described by the patents in its set-top boxes, its software and its subscription service, is seeking unspecified monetary damages and a court order to prevent TiVo from using the technologies.

Microsoft's patent infringement lawsuit is being viewed by many observers as an attempt on the company's part to come to the aid of AT&T, which is the largest customer of its Mediaroom IPTV platform, and which--along with Verizon--is being sued by TiVo for infringement of three of its patents (note: for more on TiVo's patent infringement lawsuits against AT&T and Verizon, see the article published on itvt.com, August 31st; TiVo has, of course, also enjoyed a fair amount of success in its so-called "Time Warp" patent case against DISH Network and EchoStar--for extensive coverage of that case, which has seen TiVo gain around $400 million from the satellite TV provider and its sister company, see here). Last week, Microsoft requested that it be made a party to the TiVo-AT&T litigation on the grounds that the functionality that TiVo claims infringes upon its patents in that case is provided by the Mediaroom platform: Microsoft says that AT&T has demanded that it cover any financial losses it incurs, should it lose the case.

TiVo on Wednesday issued the following statement in response to Microsoft's lawsuit: "Microsoft's recent legal actions, including its decision to seek to intervene on behalf of its customer, AT&T, and its recent complaint against TiVo in US District Court, Northern District of California, do not bear on whether the AT&T products and services that are the subject of TiVo's complaint infringe the patents asserted by TiVo. Rather these actions are part of a legal strategy to defend AT&T. We remain confident in our position that AT&T will be found to infringe on the TiVo patents asserted." Meanwhile, Microsoft's director of public affairs, Kevin Kutz, told the Wall Street Journal Wednesday that it is willing to resolve the situation through a licensing agreement and that it has attempted to hold talks with TiVo.

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