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Cable Operators

Charter Wins Patent Dispute

8/17/2004 12:07 PM Eastern

A federal judge has ruled against companies that claimed that Charter Communications Inc. and other cable- and satellite-TV providers were infringing on a patent related to sending data over TV broadcasts.

Judge Alan B. Johnson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado granted Charter’s motion for summary judgment, invalidating the patent claim by Broadcast Innovation LLC of Northbrook, Ill., and IO Research of West Perth, Australia. That decision resolved the suit in Charter’s favor, Charter said.

The Aug. 3 order headed off a trial that was scheduled to begin Aug. 16, the MSO said.

Broadcast Innovation has asked the court to reconsider its ruling, but neither side has submitted briefs on that request and it hasn’t been ruled on yet by the court, Charter said.

Broadcast Innovation also sued Comcast Corp. and EchoStar Communications Corp. for alleged patent infringement, according to court documents and company officials. The summary judgment rendered a similar request by Comcast moot, according to the order.

The patent claim -- involving the transmission of data over the vertical-blanking interval in the TV-broadcast signal -- traced back to applications IO made to the Australian Patent Office in 1993. Broadcast Innovations has a license agreement with IO, according to the judge’s order.

September