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SeaChange Vs. Arris

5:20 PM -- A video-on-demand (VoD) patent dispute whose roots go back more than a dozen years may just continue going on, and on, and on.

Back in 2001, nCube Corp. (remember them?) filed a patent infringement suit against SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC) and came out victorious in 2002. SeaChange lost its appeal in 2006 and developed a workaround.

A lot has changed since then. nCube was bought by C-COR Inc. (remember them?) in 2004, and Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) bought C-COR in 2007. SeaChange is still SeaChange, though it's almost completely out of the video hardware business now. (See Arris Sews Up C-COR and C-Cor Buys nCube for $89.5 Million.)

But the battle rages on. Arris lashed out in 2009, contending that SeaChange was still violating the injunction because Arris believes that SeaChange's workaround is no good. On Monday, the Delaware court, in a terse, one-page ruling, denied Arris's motion to hold SeaChange in contempt of the permanent injunction.

SeaChange claimed victory, holding that the ruling meant that it "has at all times complied with the Court's Order." So, are we done now?

Maybe not. Arris has a different view, claiming in a statement that the "court's ruling does not find that SeaChange product has avoided infringement of ARRIS intellectual property nor does it resolve the litigation between ARRIS and SeaChange. ARRIS continues to believe the SeaChange products infringe its patent."

So, are we in for an appeal? Arris won't say what its intentions are, but its statement indicates that it's not going to just drop this thing.

So here we are again, with both sides still trying to resolve a case that makes us recall the olden days of VoD, when Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s Phillyvision project and its 1,100 hours of VoD content set the bar, and set-top user interfaces resembled Atari-era graphics.

The UIs are getting better and evolving while cable VoD services explode with tens of thousands of "choices." The lawyers? They're as stubborn as ever.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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