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ITC: Cablevision Didn't Violate Set-Top Patents

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s attempt to ban several set-top models used by Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) came up short Wednesday when the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) terminated its review of the telco's complaint.

Cablevision had been in a bit of hot water after an ITC judge ruled that the MSO had violated U.S. Patent No. 6,381,748, which describes an "Apparatus and methods for network access using a set-top box and television," while tossing out four other Verizon patents. (See Cablevision Still at Risk in Verizon Patent Fight .)

But the ITC, in the notice (PDF) issued Wednesday, dropped the review and found Cablevision not to be in violation, citing the results of another case involving the patent in question. A judge in that case, argued in a Virginia court between Verizon and ActiveVideo (one of Cablevision's video technology vendors), invalidated two Verizon patents, including the '748 patent.

A court has already awarded ActiveVideo $115 million in damages in its patent fight with Verizon (which the telco is appealing) and is now seeking an injunction on Verizon's FiOS TV service.

Why this matters
Cablevision can operate without worrying that three set-top box models made by Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) (the Explorer 4200HD, 4250HD, 8300HD) will be banned by the ITC. But that relief may be short-lived should Verizon decide to appeal the ITC's decision.

Since Verizon has already said it intends to appeal the decision that invalidated the '748 patent, Cablevision's still not out of the woods.

For more
Read more about the legal Ping-Pong match involving Cablevision, Verizon and ActiveVideo.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:52:52 PM
re: ITC: Cablevision Didn't Violate Set-Top Patents

Could it be that VZ's legal dept one day becomes a cost rather than revenue center?

Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:52:50 PM
re: ITC: Cablevision Didn't Violate Set-Top Patents

All of these STB-related suits are certainly keeping the lawyers busy.  And since we have two cases going on, with possible appeals in the making, I wonder if we'll have another TiVo-Dish-like battle on our hands that seeminly goes on for ever and ever. JB

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