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TiVo, Gemstar end lawsuit, team up

The two television-technology companies agree to settle patent-infringement litigation and make arrangements to collaborate on new opportunities.

TiVo and Gemstar-TV Guide International are dismissing litigation and will work together on future opportunities as the two look to put the past behind them and improve their efforts in the television services market.

The two companies announced Monday that they have dismissed a lawsuit Gemstar filed against TiVo in early 2000, which alleged that TiVo's digital video recorder service infringed on Gemstar's patent for electronic programming guide technology. Gemstar was seeking an injunction and unspecified monetary damages.

TiVo's DVR service lets consumers pause live television programming, store shows on a hard drive and preprogram the service to record future shows. Gemstar's EPG technology lets viewers peruse a digital version of television listings, with show titles, broadcast times and other information.

Under the new arrangement, TiVo was granted a license to use Gemstar's EPG patent and Gemstar will be able to provide TV Guide-branded content to the TiVo service. The companies said TiVo will not have to make any changes to its current electronic program guide.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Gemstar has been very aggressive in the protection of its patents, filing numerous suits against other digital television related companies, such as set-top box maker Scientific Atlanta and satellite television company EchoStar Communications. But after losing those cases, the company has fallen on hard times.

TiVo has been gradually improving its fortunes after a meteoric rise and gradual decline. During its first-quarter financial report in May, TiVo said it had about 703,000 subscribers as of April 30 and reiterated that it expects to add 450,000 to 600,000 subscriptions during its current fiscal year--bringing the total to more than 1 million by the end of January.