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SONICblue Sues TiVo

Negotiations Turn Into a Lawsuit After a Battle of Press Releases By Charlie White
SONICblue Sues TiVoAfter a battle of press releases on Tuesday, relations between SONICblue and TiVo turned nasty today, with SONICblue filing suit against TiVo for infringing upon SONICblue's patents. In the suit, filed in California's Northern District Federal Court, SONICblue demands that TiVo cease production of what it alleges are infringing products and pay damages. Yesterday, SONICblue had threatened to sue if Tivo wouldn't resume negotiations over who really invented various personal video recorder (PVR) capabilities.

Although TiVo is currently the leader in the personal recorder market with 300,000 users, SONICblue's ReplayTV 4000 is coming on strong with new features that TiVo has yet to offer, like the ability to edit out commercials, networkability and the ability to store many times more hours of content than the TiVo units. But the TiVo units also hold their own advantages over SONICblue's unit, like the ability to record two shows at the same time and deals with DirectTV and others to incorporate the technology into satellite TV set-top boxes.

Today's suit followed a press release battle yesterday where SONICblue announced it would be licensing parts of its technology to TiVo, and TiVo responding that it intended to do no such thing.

SONICblue CEO Ken Potashner said in a statement, "It is our intention to license our technologies and create partnerships, and, in instances where companies will not partner with us, to take measures we deem necessary to aggressively protect our Intellectual Property."

In an interview with Reuters on Tuesday, Potashner said SONICblue and TiVo have held face-to-face talks over a voluntary licensing deal for the last three months, but that his company changed its stance as of Monday.

As interest in these digital video recorders (DVR) intensifies, so has the battle for patent turf between the major players, all of whom claim to have invented features such as pausing live TV, rewinding and fast forwarding video and skipping over commercials.

SONICblue faces another court battle, fighting the Big Three U.S. television networks over the company's ReplayTV 4000's ability to send copyrighted video content to other users over the Internet and commercial-clipping capability. Ironically, these same three networks are invested heavily in both SONICblue's and TiVo's technologies.

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Related Keywords:DTV Professional, SONICblue, TiVo, infringing, patents, Northern District Federal Court, negotiations, invented, personal video recorder , PVR, capabilities


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