Hulu Sued For Violating 'TV Guide' Patent

from the because-without-that,-no-one-would-have-thought-of-it dept

Earlier this year, we noted that Rovi (the hip new name for DRM company Macrovision) had taken a bunch of the patents it got when it bought Gemstar/TV Guide a few years back, and sued Amazon for daring to offer a TV listing on IMDB. Apparently Rovi is having so much fun suing people for doing totally obvious things that it's expanded the effort and is now suing Hulu as well. It's interesting to see that it's actually using different patents in this case, compared to in the Amazon case, but that doesn't make them any less questionable:
  • 6,396,546: "Electronic television program guide schedule system and method"
  • 7,103,906: "User controlled multi-device media-on-demand system"
  • 7,769,775: "Search engine for video and graphics with access authorization"
Yet another case where actually doing the obvious thing to provide the obvious service you want to offer... gets you sued. America's innovation system at work.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Stephen, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 12:37pm

    Hmm.. Maybe...

    Maybe I can patent a system in which it is used so that one party may be able to sue another party, and then I can send letters to both those parties for suing each other in violation of my patent...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Mitch Featherston, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 12:45pm

    Unbelievable

    I guess it's easier for companies to sue or threaten legal action than to actually innovate. At some point, this has to end. How long does a technology/software patent last?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Mitch Featherston, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 12:45pm

    Unbelievable

    I guess it's easier for companies to sue or threaten legal action than to actually innovate. At some point, this has to end. How long does a technology/software patent last?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 12:51pm

    I should sue you for the patent 6,666,666: "Blog for unbelievable moronic things you see in the world". That's actually not a patent but probably some sort of copyright (or trademark for the heck of it) but I'll sue anyway.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 1:04pm

    Re:

    Sorry, Patent 6,666,666 is for a multi chamber positive displacement fluid device.

    http://www.wikipatents.com/US-Patent-6666666/multi-chamber-positive-displacement-fluid-device

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 1:05pm

    Sorry Mike

    I've applied for a patent for 'bitching on the internet.'

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 1:05pm

    Re: Unbelievable

    Unfortunately 20 years. Far longer than the technologies they cover last. However, that has never stopped a patent holder from suing people using 19 year old patents.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 1:14pm

    hulu sucks

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    SUNWARD (profile), Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 1:17pm

    last one

    was granted in August 2010. (applied for in 2007)

    Like no one was doing searches in 2007?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 1:17pm

    Re:

    Hulu is awesome. It is the people controlling Hulu and its content that suck.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Lirodon, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 1:19pm

    Prior art:

    Every single Excel spreadsheet and every single event planning book.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    MikeC (profile), Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 1:24pm

    Re: Unbelievable

    for all intents and purposes patents these days seem to last indefinitely, every time a ton are about to expire a way is found to keep them patented

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 1:27pm

    Re:

    Screw Excel, how about TV Guide? The first one was published in 1953. Adding "on the Internet" is not a new invention.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Nicedoggy, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 1:55pm

    There is a lot of prior art on epguides.com

    http://epguides.com/FAQ/related.html

    Good times, I don't use that anymore but some people may find it useful.

    on-my.tv for example started in 2005.
    tVDB is probably also but not sure.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 1:57pm

    Re: Re: Unbelievable

    for all intents and purposes patents these days seem to last indefinitely, every time a ton are about to expire a way is found to keep them patented

    Usually by just filing another patent that says the same thing in different words.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    drewmerc (profile), Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 1:57pm

    BBC's Radio Times was first issued on 28 September 1923
    altho i have not looked i'm sure it had tv listing's once tv started

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    trish, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 2:25pm

    hmmmm....

    I remember the tv schedule off the top of my head. Does the storage of TV guide information in my brain constitute a violation of these patents?
    On a side note, how many patents do you think the human brain infringes on? "Device and system for analysis and storage of life events as sensory input information", "Device and system for the control of bodily functions through electrical impulses to the nervous system (patent pending)" ...?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 3:14pm

    Yahoo

    I wonder if this is why Yahoo dumped their tv listings.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 5:04pm

    it's always obvious after someone shows you how to do it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    gorehound (profile), Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 5:18pm

    I am now unemployed and need money.Maybe I should think of some ridiculous patent and then I can sue me some Companies and make a ton of money.

    Wait I won't.I am not a scumbag

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    ECA (profile), Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 6:11pm

    WTF

    So I can create a BASIC spread sheet format...
    Go out and ADD, info from the Internet channels direct to it..WITH PERMISSION
    SORT it by TIME OF SHOW, per channel...

    ANd these guys have a patent on a spread sheet.????

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    Brendan (profile), Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 11:15pm

    Re:

    It's obvious if you think about the problem at hand and combine with pedestrian knowledge of web hosting and relaional databases.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    JEDIDIAH, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 7:07am

    The problem with software...

    The problem with software patents is that they ultimately break down into algorithms that don't necessarily have any thing to do with computers. You can implement these techniques in the absence of a computing machine.

    A copy of TV Guide from 1953 is a great example of this.

    So you end up with new patents on 50 year old "technology".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    JEDIDIAH, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 7:27am

    Web Hosting and Relational Databases

    The TV Guide grid from 1953 can be thought of as a single SQL query.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 8:14am

    Re:

    You can learn to be a scumbag, simply by watching companies such as Rovi, which seems to be populated entirely by scumbags. They can teach you a thing or two about how to be a sub-human parasite, as well as some tips on how to get blood out of turnips, and how to be a complete drag on society, while serving no useful purpose whatsoever. Look, watch, learn. They have a lot to show you, and you probably ain't seen nothing yet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 8:15am

    Re: WTF

    They also have a patent on corporate parasitism.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Chris, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 8:40pm

    Re: last one

    No kidding...I was using my computer as a DVR as far back as 2003/2004 and two guesses where my guide data came from and the first doesn't count.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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