Video services

Will Arris Expand Its VoD Patent War?

5:30 PM -- With Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) filing suit against Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT) over four video-on-demand (VoD) related patents, questions are starting to circulate about whether Arris will now go after other video server rivals, specifically Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT). (See Arris Throws Book at Harmonic .)

Cisco and Moto both got into the VoD server game via acquisition -- Cisco bought Arroyo Video Solutions, and Moto snapped up Broadbus Technologies. Both deals went down in 2006. (See Moto Buys VOD Vendor Broadbus and Cisco Snatches VOD Vendor Arroyo Video .)

Should Arris opt to wield its patent knife again, those two are considered to be among the most likely candidates.

SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC) is another possibility. SeaChange and nCUBE (sold to C-COR in 2005) battled over VoD patents several years ago, but those fights centered on a different patent than the four that are in question in the suit Arris filed against Harmonic. (See C-COR Acquires nCUBE.)

For its part, Arris isn't telegraphing its future litigious intentions, offering a "no comment" response via email when asked if the company might go after more than Harmonic.

Concurrent Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: CCUR) isn't considered a prime target because it is believed to be sufficiently insulated from the Arris patents. Three years ago, Concurrent paid C-COR (now part of Arris) $1.7 million to resolve some VoD patent transferability issues. (See Concurrent Shores Up Patent Licenses.)

Concurrent was originally protected via a 2002 investment in Thirdspace Living Ltd., a supplier of video server systems for DSL-based VoD services that was once owned by Alcatel and Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) but has since been liquidated.

A Concurrent spokeswoman confirmed that the company's patent protection persists today even though C-COR has since been purchased by Arris. (See Arris Bids $730M for C-COR.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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