by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
broadband, patents, set top box

cablevision, verizon

Verizon's Attempt To Attack Cablevision With Patents Fails

from the sensible-itc dept

Verizon and Cablevision have been involved in an intense battle for years over broadband customers on Long Island. So it really wasn't a huge surprise when Verizon tried to up the ante by suing Cablevision for patent infringement concerning DVR technology. It was pretty clear the lawsuit had nothing whatsoever to do with Cablevision actually copying Verizon. It was just a way to attack a competitor via the courts. Oh, and of course, Verizon got two cracks at Cablevision because it used the ITC loophole, as well. Thankfully, the ITC seems to have come to its senses, of late, and is being pretty tough on patent claims. And, in this case, it's come down against Verizon, saying that Cablevision didn't infringe on four of the five patents. The fifth? That one didn't matter because a court (in Eastern Texas, believe it or not) had ruled that the patent was invalid. It seems this particular anti-competitive usage of patents didn't get very far.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 May 2011 @ 10:36pm

    Perfectly Simple Fix

    Repeal the part of the law which makes patent infringement illegal, then this sort of abuse of the law will just quietly go away. Patents should stop being a ticket to go to court. The backlogs in the US legal system could do with being shortened.

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

    • icon
      The eejit (profile), 23 May 2011 @ 11:23pm

      Re: Perfectly Simple Fix

      Also, make patent-trolling a federal crime: "stifling innovative business models" or something to that effect. Just think of the companies! Won't someone please think of the startups?

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

      • icon
        Greg G (profile), 24 May 2011 @ 6:34am

        Re: Re: Perfectly Simple Fix

        Yes! The startups are the children of the business world!

        Only $5k/day will keep a startup from dying and give it the necessary supplies it needs to fight off the patent virus. Picture the tiny building, bright windows shining with hope, as your donation helps cover it with the mesh netting that keeps the dreaded Lawyer Mosquito from biting.

        This young startup may grow up to be a monopoly one day, and it will be thanks to those that donate now to keep it alive in its infancy.

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

  • icon
    Jay (profile), 24 May 2011 @ 12:25am

    The best option

    Here's how you solve all copyright, patent and trademark issues:

    Plaintiff pays all attorney fees. So yes, you win the damages lawsuit. You still pay something for the privilege of enforcement.

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

    • icon
      Beta (profile), 24 May 2011 @ 4:29am

      Re: The best option

      Your proposal would effectively put an end to copyright, patents and trademarks. May I go out on a limb and suggest that you are actually in favor of certain aspects of these laws, especially trademarks? Just be aware of the price you'll pay for this solution.

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

      • icon
        ltlw0lf (profile), 24 May 2011 @ 3:30pm

        Re: Re: The best option

        Your proposal would effectively put an end to copyright, patents and trademarks.

        How? I can see it making lawsuits for smaller business and end users much more difficult, but big businesses will still use it as a weapon to bash the competition's head with. Essentially nothing will change.

        However, I personally like where you are going with this though. I am not a fan of copyright, patents, or trademarks, as they currently are implemented, and would like to see them reigned in. Reducing copyright to a reasonable 17 years plus 17 year extension (or even better, allow unlimited 17 year extensions,) and lock down copyright so that it can only be held by the creator, and cannot be sold permanently to a corporation (the creator can give the company their permission to exclusive distribution, if they want, limited to 17 years.) Software patents should be outlawed entirely, as with business process patents. And trademarks must be specific to a trade mark...there should be no way a company can trademark the color pink.

        I realize the price I'd pay for these changes, but they would go along way to removing the sheer stupidity and the tyranny by the oldies that exist in the current situation (Mickey Mouse has done more to destroy the public domain than anyone else in the field.)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 May 2011 @ 4:00am

    This TV patents are ridiculous. As is the fact that US rating agencies are classifying much more advanced foreign companies as TRASH. US live in a "I was at woodstock" management Business-wonderland-o-vision. Just wait...

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

  • identicon
    abc gum, 24 May 2011 @ 4:46am

    Another food fight over time shifting, who would have imagined that?

    Software should not be patentable, that is all.

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

  • identicon
    Tom, 24 May 2011 @ 5:16am


    Let's say I was had an idea to invent some great new thing. What reason would I have these days for trying to sell it? I'd just end up getting sued by some company with 50 billion patents on everything from "Phillips screw heads" to "A method for inventing something". Then I'd have to close up shop because I couldn't ever pay to fight them. It's ridiculous!

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

  • icon
    Gene Cavanaugh (profile), 24 May 2011 @ 9:58am

    Verizon trying to abuse IP

    Wonderful! I am an ethical attorney first, and an IP attorney second.
    I can prove conclusively that, when used as intended in the US Constitution (which excludes large entity patents, or "nearly all" patents), patents can be a very good thing - but nearly all patents in the US (and much of the world) today are abusive and anticompetitive, and should be abolished. As a (weak) substitute, cracking down on them is a "good thing".

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

  • identicon
    patent litigation, 30 May 2011 @ 4:54pm

    It certainly seems that, nowadays, many IP owners use patent litigation more as a weapon to destroy competition in the marketplace than as a system for enforcing infringement of their IP. It's questionable whether these wars should take place in the legal system, in the form of patent enforcement, or should be properly restricted to the marketplace, where they rightfully belong. Whatever one's position on the issue, however, it's also true that as long as IP rights exist, then patentees have every legal right to enforce them.

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

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