Verizon Figures If It's Already Involved In A Patent Lawsuit With TiVo, Why Not Sue Cablevision For Its DVR Too
from the patent-wars dept
Ah, the patent wars. As you’re probably aware, TiVo spent years fighting a big legal battle with EchoStar/Dish Networks over some patents on DVR technology. TiVo won big, and then immediately turned its patent lawyers on some other companies including Verizon. In Verizon’s response to TiVo’s lawsuit, it went nuclear back, accusing TiVo of violating Verizon’s patents on DVR technology — including a patent that the world’s biggest patent hoarding firm, Intellectual Ventures, gave Verizon for the purpose of being used against TiVo.
So is it any surprise to hear via Broadband Reports that Verizon is now suing Cablevision, claiming patent infringement on its set top box/DVR offerings as well? Cablevision and Verizon have had a really nasty battle going for years on Long Island, with all sorts of dirty tricks being played by both sides. But patent infringement? Given the odd timing of this lawsuit coming so quickly on the heels of the counterclaims against TiVo, you have to wonder if Verizon “woke up” to the fact that it could use these patents against Cablevision, only after provoked by TiVo.
Indeed, if you look down the list of patents in the Verizon Cablevision spat, you’ll see that there’s some overlap with those found in the TiVo suit:
- 5,666,293: Downloading operating system software through a broadcast channel
- 5,635,979: Dynamically programmable digital entertainment terminal using downloaded software to control broadband data operations
- 5,608,447: Full service network
- 6,367,078: Electronic program-guide system with sideways-surfing capability
- 7,561,214: Two-dimensional navigation of multiplexed channels in a digital video distribution system
- 6,055,077: Multimedia distribution system using fiber optic lines
- 5,864,415: Fiber optic network with wavelength-division-multiplexed transmission to customer premises
- 6,381,748: Apparatus and methods for network access using a set-top box and television
The three in bold are found in both lawsuits. Now, to be fair, before looking at the details, I was guessing that Verizon would also be using the patent it got from IV, but that patent (5,410,344) appears to be the one patent that Verizon is asserting against TiVo, but not against Cablevision. I have no idea if this is because nothing Cablevision does is covered by that patent, or if Verizon has limitations on what it can do with the IV patent. Still, given the overlap here, the timing, and the fact that many of these patents are pretty old, you really have to wonder if the lawsuit from TiVo and the scouring of patents for a countersuit also gave Verizon the idea to sue its arch-nemesis in the Long Island market over the same issues.