Rovi’s trouble is not over. After loosing 10 lawsuits against Virgin and some against Ziggo (and recently a preliminairy one against Netflix) in attempts to solidify their patent position in EPGs one of their larger shareholders (Engaged Capital) is saying it has to end. And they have had to propose alternative candidates to the board of director and succeeded in removing the sitting chairman.
As clearly outlined by their call to gain votes from the shareholders Rovi has not been doing well, and it seems it is no longer gaining any new ground (and even loosing ground it thought it had). See this new article from Engaged Capital (keeping in mind this company has a large stake in the future value of Rovi).
Source: Activist shareholders oust Rovi chairman
It must make business sense for Rovi to keep going with court cases against Virgin and loose them, invalidating its own patents along the way. 10 times: it is almost ridiculous. Maybe it is the savings on patent fees (which cost more and more as patents mature) which is making these court cases pay for themselves for Rovi. But there are probably cheaper ways to pay less patent maintenance fees. So what might it be….
Is it conceivable that Rovi’s very significant license income would be at serious risk if they admitted loss? Since then every TD&H operator and CE manufacturer might just ignore the license fee claims and just let the court cases come.
It is amazing how many Rovi patents have been found to be invalid. Maybe having a somewhat more rigorous assignment procedure for patents would be a good idea.
Virgin Media clocks up 10th Rovi win.
Need we say more: the EPG patent company Rovi is having some perceived setback against Netflix in s US court case trying to force Netflix into a license agreement. That after all problems of having their patents upheld in court cases against Virgin and Ziggo in Europe (also reported here).
Rovi remains confident in Netflix case.
Industries favorite, Rovi, has already lost many court cases trying to make Virgin pay for EPG patents. This seems like trollish behaviour: just outspend them on lawyers cost to make them realize paying up is cheaper. It takes courage (and legal fees) for companies to take a stand – though Virgin got their fees re-embursed after every court case so far. But on their 9’th attempt to discipline Virgin Rovi seems to have crashed before taking off. But the consequence of giving up for Rovi may be so bad (no new licensees and even existing licenses breaking their contracts) that they will try and try and… Round 9 ended up with a knockout before it even started. It may take a while for round 10….
Ninth Rovi patent claim defeated by Virgin Media | Advanced Television.
In a Dutch trial a claim by Kudelsi-owned OpenTV against Netflix was denied on the grounds that the patent was now innovative. A similar lawsuit is running in the USA.
The OpenTV patent EP 0879534 in essence claims that a URL (or other locator) for online services is sent along invisibly with the video and can be presented on the screen for user selection (priority date is 1996). The court agrees with Netflix that there is a patent WO 97/02699 with an earlier priority date (1995) that establishes the same technique. This renders the patent of OpenTV largely useless. Here is the Dutch patent verdict.
There is another lawsuit on a second patent pending between OpenTV and Netflix. To be continued.
Computerworld – Nederlands Netflix-verbod in de kiem gesmoord.