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TiVo co-founder and CTO Jim Barton steps down

Barton will stay on as a patent, litigation, and technical consultant for $25,000 a month.

TiVo co-founder and CTO Jim Barton has resigned and will collect a $25,000 monthly paycheck as a consultant for the company while pursuing "his next big idea."

According to paperwork TiVo filed yesterday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Barton resigned March 14, effective yesterday. The filing says TiVo plans to enter into a three-year deal with Barton for "certain consulting services related to patent matters, litigation, and certain technical matters" and that Barton will be paid $25,000 per month.

There doesn't appear to be any news of the change on TiVo's Web site, but David Lieberman at blog Deadline New York said he received the following comment from CEO Tom Rogers: "We are extremely grateful to Jim for his years of dedication and his commitment to innovation that he has provided to TiVo since its founding. We are pleased that he will remain on in an advisory capacity and look forward to working with him in this new capacity in the future."

Lieberman also reports that the company said Barton "is headed off to pursue his next 'big idea.'"

Barton held positions at SGI and Network Age Software before co-founding TiVo with Mike Ramsay in 1997 and releasing the world's first DVR, or digital video recorder, two years later at the Consumer Electronics Show. According to a bio on the TiVo site, Barton set the "technical vision for the company, including [its] product, service, and partnership roadmaps," and his specialty was "the software and digital video streaming technologies behind the TiVo Service." Ramsay stepped down as CEO of TiVo in 2005.

TiVo aggressively guards its intellectual property (most recently securing a multimillion-dollar settlement with AT&T over a patent-infringement lawsuit)--a situation that may well have influenced the company's decision to keep Barton on as a consultant.