Microsoft files ITC complaint against TiVo

As a follow up to its year-old patent lawsuit, Microsoft has filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission to bar TiVo units from sale or import in the U.S.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read
TiVo and Microsoft logos

Microsoft has filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) against the makers of TiVo and is seeking to bar the set-top DVR boxes from being imported to the U.S. as well as being sold within the country's borders.

The legal move, which was sniffed out by blog Winrumors, is a follow up to a year-old patent suit Microsoft filed against TiVo for illegally using video purchasing and delivery technology in its digital video recorders--two features Microsoft says are covered within patents it owns.

Microsoft had originally said it was "open to resolving this situation through an intellectual property licensing agreement," and that it had "initiated discussions" with TiVo to negotiate said licenses. Within the pages of the ITC complaint, Microsoft does not mention the outcome of those negotiations, though Kevin Kutz, Microsoft's director of public affairs, seems to have confirmed that they at least took place in the slightly reworded version of the statement the company released today:

"We have filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission and the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Washington against TiVo Inc. for infringement of four Microsoft patents. We have a strong and robust patent portfolio that we will vigorously defend against infringement. It is our responsibility to protect our customers and partners and to safeguard the investments we make to bring innovative products and services to market. However, we remain open to resolving this situation through an intellectual property licensing agreement, and we look forward to continued negotiations with TiVo."

TiVo told CNET it had not yet been served the ITC complaint and therefore had no comment on the matter.

Microsoft is currently involved in another ITC complaint, though it concerns its Xbox 360 console, which Motorola says is infringing on its patents. In late December, the ITC said it would agree to hear that complaint. The ITC is also currently involved in a similar patent infringement claim, covering a handful of Apple patents it says Motorola is infringing on with its Droid smartphones.

Microsoft says it currently holds more than 25,000 patents and pending patent applications within the U.S. Besides the ones mentioned as part of the TiVo complaint, the company is the leader of CPTN holdings, a consortium of technology companies that's set to acquire 882 of Novell's patents as part of November's multibillion dollar sale to Attachmate.