TiVo Requests Reexamination of Three Verizon Patents

Scott Daniels | June 3, 2011

Two weeks ago ITC Administrative Law Judge James Gildea issued an Initial Determination (ID) finding that Cablevision Systems and TiVo had violated Section 337 by the importation into the United States of digital TV cable boxes that infringe TiVo’s U.S. Patent No. 6,381,748.  In his ID, Judge Gildea also found that ‘748 was valid over the prior art and that a domestic industry exists in the U.S. based on the claims of the ‘748 patent.  The Judge additionally determined that there was no violation of Section 337 with respect to Verizon’s four other patents-in-suit, though the public record is not clear on the specific reasons for the no-violation finding.  The investigation now goes to the Commission for its review; if the Commission affirms Judge Gildea’s determination of violation, it may order the exclusion of the infringing cable boxes from the U.S. and prohibit future sales of infringing cable boxes that are already in the U.S.

Yesterday, TiVo took steps to deal with Judge Gildea’s determination of violation by requesting reexamination of the ‘748 patent.  TiVo might be hoping to affect the ITC’s decision on a suitable remedy for the violation, but in the past the Commission not considered pending reexaminations at the remedy stage of a case.  TiVo might also hope to affect the Commission’s consideration of any prior art validity issues raised in Judge Gildea’s ID, but the ‘748 reexamination is likely filed too late to affect the Commission’s review of those issues.  Or perhaps, TiVo’s goal with the reexaminations is to affect the outcome of co-pending infringement litigation.  When the content of TiVo’s reexamination request becomes public, its strategy might be more evident.

TiVo also requested reexamination yesterday of two of the other Verizon patents in the ITC investigation, U.S. Patent Nos. 5,635,979 and 6,367,078, and might shortly seek reexamination of Verizon’s other patents as well.  Judge Gildea found no violation of Section 337 regarding the ‘979 and ‘078 patents, but might have found them valid over the prior art. 

Verizon’s three patent patents now in reexamination are the subject of a co-pending infringement action in Delaware that has been stayed, presumably until completion of the ITC’s investigation.

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