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OpenTV lawsuit accuses Apple of patent infringement

Apple TV, iTunes and the App Store are among the products and services named as violating the interactive software pioneer's patents.

Apple TV is just one of the services and products named in a patent-infringement lawsuit. CNET

Interactive TV software pioneer OpenTV filed a lawsuit against Apple on Tuesday, alleging that several of the tech giant's products and services infringe on its patents.

The lawsuit, filed in US District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that Apple infringed on five of its patents for storing, delivering, playing and viewing interactive content on mobile devices, computers, and digital televisions. Apple's iOS-based devices, Apple TV, iTunes and the App Store are among the Apple services and products identified as violating OpenTV's patents.

The lawsuit comes amid growing popularity in accessing movies and TV shows across the Internet on mobile devices, so-called over-the-top boxes, and smart TVs. A survey released in October found that 61 percent of respondents stream at home weekly, up from 44 percent in 2013.

Already a leader in the smartphone, tablet and desktop computer markets, Apple is said to have its sights set on expanding its content-delivery presence. The company is a expected to make a slew of Apple TV announcements at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, including a long-awaited Web TV service much like Dish's Sling TV product and Sony's upcoming service.

Apple is said to be working with television networks to launch a service later this year that would let users stream programming from a range of providers, including ABC, CBS and Fox. The service would be available on Apple's iOS devices and the Apple TV. (Disclosure: CBS is the parent company of CNET.)

Saying that other companies have recognized the importance of the OpenTV's patents, the lawsuit indicates that Google and Disney entered licensing agreements for the patent portfolio last month. Cisco is also listed as a recent licensee of the portfolio owned by the Kudelski Group, the Switzerland-based company that acquired OpenTV in 2010.

Founded in 1994, OpenTV was an early powerhouse in providing software for television set-top boxes. The San Francisco-based company is seeking unspecified compensatory damages and an injunction preventing Apple from future infringement on the patents.

Apple did not respond to requests for comment.