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07.09.17

Trolls-Connected Rovi, TiVo, Hulu and Technicolor Continue to Make Broadcast a Sordid Maze of Software Patents

Posted in America, Patents at 9:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Technicolor logo

Summary: With a lot of lawsuits — some of which connected to notorious patent trolls — it certainly seems like much of the “innovation” in the area of digital broadcast now happens in courtrooms, not laboratories

THE USPTO continues the granting of software patents. They’re not worth much; in fact, many are utterly worthless as no court would take them seriously. But they’re just another number under one’s belt, contributing to the perception of patent might. In the coming weeks we will cover some of these patents and also mention patent battles that we lacked the time to cover earlier this summer (due to absence).

“A high proportion of key players in the patent world are basically charlatans, scammers, and Mafia-like entities which need exposing.”One interesting news from earlier in the summer was the move of Deirdre Leanne from one patent troll, IP Navigation Group (IP Nav), to another, Technicolor [1, 2, 3]. IP Nav quickly became one of the world’s most notorious patent trolls (if not the most fraudulent in the world), but it’s now pretty much defunct as the patent/s it relied on got invalidated.

Arvin Patel, according to the same article, ended up at TiVo, whose patent aggression we wrote about as often as we covered IP Nav (dozens of times each).

“The matter of fact is, this whole territory has become so thoroughly plagued with unethical software patent lawsuits, patent trolls and mischief…”A high proportion of key players in the patent world are basically charlatans, scammers, and Mafia-like entities which need exposing. Not many sites are willing to write about these trolls because some of them, Ray Niro for instance, unmask and then attack critics in courts. It’s enough to scare some people and publishers.

How about Rovi, which is connected to the world’s largest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures, and is competing with TiVo? We wrote about it many times before and Bloomberg recently said that “Hulu Seeks Order It Doesn’t Infringe Rovi Video Patent,” noting the relevance to Alice too:

Moreover, TiVo’s patents are vulnerable to legal challenges after U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2014 decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l, which led to the invalidation of hundreds of software patents for covering ineligible abstract ideas…

TiVo is not just a patent bully but also somewhat of a scammer, based on this report from the end of May. Pay close attention to this:

Hulu LLC has launched a suit against Tivo in California federal court Tuesday, claiming it doesn’t need to renew an expired licensing agreement since three patents covered by the agreement are no longer applicable.

According to a report on Law 360 Hulu claims TiVo continues to assert its patents against Hulu even though they’ve expired or are no longer relevant. Also, Hulu claims TiVo has breached its own obligations under their license agreement by failing to follow through on its promises and good faith obligations and by widely publicising its licenses to Hulu’s competitors, among other things.

TiVo, according to this from four weeks ago, is now “accusing Comcast and its set-top partners Arris and Technicolor of violating a software patent…”

So we go back full circle again; back to Technicolor, which once existed as a “real” company in the area of broadcast.

The matter of fact is, this whole territory has become so thoroughly plagued with unethical software patent lawsuits, patent trolls and mischief that it seems unlikely anyone can compete in the US without getting sued from every direction.

What is more desirable? Innovation or litigation? To lawyers — the latter.

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