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Cable Operators

Verizon Gets Clipped in Patent Duel

8/08/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

A three-way patent fight involving Verizon
Communications, Cablevision Systems and interactive-TV
vendor ActiveVideo Networks — a supplier to the New Yorkarea
cable operator — is leaning cable’s way.

Last week, a federal jury in Virginia said the telco must pay
$115 million in damages to ActiveVideo after finding FiOS TV
infringed four ActiveVideo-owned patents.

Verizon said it planned to appeal the decision, adding that
it won’t pay any damages while the appeal
is pending.

ActiveVideo said its law firm will file
an injunction seeking to bar Verizon
from further infringing the patents.
“We’re extremely pleased that the judge
found that ActiveVideo intellectual property
was valid and that the jury found
that Verizon infringed on all asserted
claims,” ActiveVideo president and CEO
Jeff Miller said in a statement.

On Aug. 2, a jury in the U.S. District Court
for the Eastern District of Virginia found Verizon’s
deployment of FiOS TV violated four
of the five patents asserted by ActiveVideo
in its suit filed in May 2010. Th e jury rejected
ActiveVideo’s claims that Verizon’s infringement
was willful and also awarded Verizon
$16,000 in damages after finding Active-
Video infringed two of the telco’s patents.

That came after Verizon’s patentlitigation
offensive against Cablevision stalled. In May, a judge
for the Virginia federal district court ruled that two of Verizon’s
patents asserted in a counterclaim against ActiveVideo were
invalid. The telco had asserted Cablevision also infringed one
of those, U.S. Patent No. 6,381,748, in a complaint with the U.S.
International Trade Commission.

According to San Jose, Calif.-based ActiveVideo, the
company first contacted Verizon in 2005, seeking to reach
an agreement to deploy its interactive-TV solution on the
FiOS network.

SEE YOU IN COURT

Timeline of the patent litigation:

March 2010: Verizon sues Cablevision Systems and files ITC
complaint, alleging infringement of set-top patents.

May 2010: ActiveVideo sues Verizon over five interactive TV patents.

May 2011: ITC judge throws out four of Verizon’s claims against
Cablevision but finds the MSO infringed a fifth patent; separately that
fifth patent is ruled invalid by a Virginia federal district court judge.

July 2011: ITC appeals panel affirms earlier ruling.

August 2011: Federal jury in Virginia finds Verizon infringed four
ActiveVideo patents, awarding $115 million in damages.

SOURCE: Multichannel News research

September