Content

Sling Media, Belkin Settle Time-Shifting Spat

International Trade Commission Asked to Stamp Proposed Settlement Between Rivals 5/24/2013 6:40 AM Eastern

Sling Media and Belkin have reportedly settled a suit in which the Slingbox maker alleged that Belkin's @TV Plus product infringed on a handful of Sling patents tied to video place-shifting.

On Monday, Sling Media asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to dismiss Belkin from the agency’s investigation into whether Belkin and two other competitors – Monsoon Multimedia and C2 Microsystems – were infringing on the patents, Law 360 reported, citing ITC documents. 

According to the report, the companies did not reveal if the settlement included any licensing agreements, but noted that what they did agree to “will not have any adverse effect on the public health and welfare of competitive conditions in the United States." Sling Media and Belkin declined to comment further about the proposed settlement that's in front of the ITC.

Sling’s proposed settlement with Belkin  still needs ITC approval. The proposal does not affect Sling's suits against Monsoon and C2, Law 360 said. Monsoon’s place-shifting strategy involves the sale of devices at retail and in partnership with MSOs. In January 2012, it announced a deal to port its place-shifting software engines to chips developed by C2 as well as Zenverge.

The Belkin-made @TV Plus place-shifting device that was originally subject to the Sling suit is a rebranded and  repackaged version of Monsoon's Vulkano Flow product. Belkin launched the product last July at prices that undercut Sling's.

 Patents tied to the Sling suits include No. 7,725,912 ("Method for implementing a remote display system with transcoding;" No. 7,877,776 ("Personal media broadcasting system;" No. 8,051,454 ("Personal media broadcasting system with output buffer;" No. 8,060,909 ("Personal media broadcasting system;" No 8,266,657 (“Method for effectively implementing a multiroom television system;" and No. 8,365,236 ("Personal media broadcasting system with output buffer”).

EchoStar Communications acquired Sling Media in 2007 for cash and stock options worth $380 million. EchoStar Communications split into two separate companies -- Dish Network and EchoStar Corp. -- in 2008.

Last fall, Sling Media launched its latest line of Slingbox hardware, including models capable of supporting 1080p HD streaming and the ability to sling personal photos and video to other devices, including tablets and PCs, over the Internet.  The new high-end Slingbox 500 includes HDMI ports and integrated Wi-Fi.  Earlier this year, Dish introduced a Sling-loaded version of its Hopper whole-home HD-DVR.

September