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SONICblue Sues TiVo for Patent Infringement 159

Posted by chrisd
from the guess-we-saw-this-coming dept.
SVDave writes "Yesterday, Slashdot reported that SONICblue was going to start negotiating patent licensing with TiVo. It appears that SONICblue has switched strategies: today they've decided to sue TiVo for patent infringement. Given TiVo's patents on PVR technology, I would expect a quick countersuit, though SONICblue claims that ReplayTV does not infringe on any of TiVo's patents."
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SONICblue Sues TiVo for Patent Infringement

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  • Awright!! (Score:2, Funny)

    by dweezle (200818)
    And the sound of lawyers laughter echos throughout the land.
  • by x136 (513282) on Thursday December 13, 2001 @06:06AM (#2698072) Homepage
    So basically, competition is pretty much grounds for a lawsuit these days. Nice.
    • by Safety Cap (253500) on Thursday December 13, 2001 @07:52AM (#2698202) Homepage Journal
      To review:
      • Those who can, create.
      • Those who can't, sue.
      • Those who can't create or sue (successfully) end up on fscked company [fuckedcompany.com]
    • So basically, competition is pretty much grounds for a lawsuit these days

      Our patent laws require companies to enforce their granted intellectual monopoly rights. Anything else is fiscally irresponsible and subjects the company executives to charges of mismanagement by investors.

      Honest businesses will do what the laws allow to make a profit. If the laws are cr@p, businesses will use those laws to cr@p on the competition.

      The real losers here are everybody everywhere.
      • by haruharaharu (443975) on Thursday December 13, 2001 @10:15AM (#2698510) Homepage

        Our patent laws require companies to enforce their granted intellectual monopoly rights. Anything else is fiscally irresponsible and subjects the company executives to charges of mismanagement by investors

        Not true. Our Trademark laws require that the Trademark be defended or else lost (if sufficiently diluted). Patent laws require no such thing. This is why Unisys was able to show up after several years and say 'Hi, we own the patent for some underlying technology in the GIF format. Pay up!'.

        Finally, I'm not sure why investors are so bloodthirsty, but given that companies like Enron can basically mismanage a multinational giant into the ground, not exploiting a possible advantage when it is considered unethical should be doable without calling the wrath of the stockholders.

        • Our patent laws [require] companies to enforce their granted intellectual monopoly rights

          Because the laws are there it would be negligent for an executive not to enforce their intellectual monopoly rights for company profit. The requirement that they do so is driven by threat of investor suit against the executives.

          Your point is well taken that trademark laws literally require enforcement for claims to stay enforceable and patent laws do not. The pragmatics of the situation, however, give us the same result.

          I'm not sure why investors are so bloodthirsty

          It is called making money. We all want it. Law abiding people will work within the laws, no matter how screwed up, to get and keep it.
      • competition is pretty much grounds for a lawsuit these days

      Breathing is pretty much grounds for a lawsuit these days.

      Our entire retail and service sector economy is based on giving half of our money to lawyers, and letting them decide where to spend it.

      I'm not exaggerating for effect. More lawyers than gas pumps, more law students than practicing lawyers, 50% of Congress and Senate are members of the American Bar Association, as was President Clinton and her husband, as were the people who chose Bush as President over the other candidate, what's-his-name, the one who'd been to law school.

      Is it any wonder that we're so screwed? Separation of powers my huge hairy ass. The USPTO is just one of the more visible aspects of having Government that is By the Lawyers, Of the Lawyers and For the Lawyers.

      • by SuiteSisterMary (123932) <slebrun@noSpAm.gmail.com> on Thursday December 13, 2001 @10:10AM (#2698489) Journal
        Face it, the system fell apart as soon as there was the concept of the 'professional politician.' What there needs to be is a clause that nobody can spend more than ten years in (elected/appointed? Still need civil servants, possibly) gov't service, and must have a recognized public sector trade or job. That would guarentee 'citizen legislators.' Or, as Douglas Adams (more or less) puts it, 'by definition, anybody who actually wants to be President is automatically the person least suited for it.'
  • Hrm... lets see, I have an anologue Hauppauge controller, PC, and DivX encoder and Hauppauge DVB-s card that can pipe the MPEG2 transport stream to disk, the software [linuxtv.org] to tie it all together, will they be suing me next?

    Let's face it, it's just rudimentary off the shelf hardware put in a different box, if someone decides to make a PC that looks like a funky box will be get sued too? Based on the hardware the patent seems unsubstantiated, looking at the software it looks unsubstantiated, I bet TiVO even use the Video For Linux API.
    • Patents gives the patenter the right to make a commercial use of the claims of the patents.

      repeat after me : commercial

      As long as you're not selling/renting/... it, you're perfectly authorised to do it.
      • by Aztech (240868) on Thursday December 13, 2001 @06:25AM (#2698094)
        Not necessarily so, they are a blunt tool, if I'm working on an Open Source PVR project, whether it's commercial or not they could wield their patents against me. We've seen it before in terms of MP3 licensing groups on behalf of Fraunhofer, Unisys with LZW licensing for GIF, Dolby threatening an AC3 decoder developer (just the decoder, not encoder), then there's all the Apple TrueType patents hanging over Freetype, non of the above projects are commercial yet they are threatened.
        • Yes, they are _threatened_.

          Has (just a single) opensource project (or an individual author) been sued ? judged guilty of patent infrigment ?

          P.S. I know, it's easy as I'm not in the front line, but I have been in such kind of pseudo-legal troubles before.
    • if someone decides to make a PC that looks like a funky box will be get sued too?

      Yes. But more likely, you will be threatened with a lawsuit. The threat is enough. (You= regular person with little or some money getting legal advice on slashdot / Them= multi-million$ company with team of lawyers wearing suits and drinking martinis) That is a fight you and most people will cower away from and that is what they know and that is why they would sue.

      If it got to court would they win if you were not selling product? That is moot because you cannot afford the court battle.
      • Sometimes the threat isn't enough. (Me = regular person with excellent credit and a crack-addict banker drinking tequila / Them = mult-million$ company with team of overpaid circus freaks drinking Shirley Temples)

        But seriously, we need to create a legal weapon of mass retribution to right all these wrongs. The way things are going, in a few years you'll be carrying around a lawyer for your xmas shopping, writing waivers and debating loopholes just so you can safely buy that 125$ VCR at Mallwart's.

        The businesses don't realize it, but by suing their competitors out of business, they're alienating the potential customers that they're actually trying to steal.
    • They don't use the Video for Linux API. They have an IBM MPEG chip on board and have written custom software to feed the data streams to it. Quite nice, really.

      Justin
      • Actually, they use the world standard UNIX API -- read() and write(). Once the modules are loaded, you can simply cat things to the appropriate devices. (Of course, the UI has to be stopped or you get an interesting mess.)

        However, TiVo, Inc. does have a great deal of Magic (tm) in their software.
  • They just seem to be uping the ante here by filing a lawsuit. It's a fairly common tactic to use durring/preceding negotiations for companies to get the upper hand in negotiations. We all know that if you sue someone they're guilty, right?
    • by werdna (39029) on Thursday December 13, 2001 @10:49AM (#2698698) Journal
      to negotiate the cross license and stipulate to a consent judgment as to validity of each other's patents. Then, armed with the consent decree, they can use the vehicle to support preliminary injunctive relief as against third parties.

      Relax, this is just how the game is played. Its the birth of a new enterprise and industry, with a pretty cool and different product that changes the way people enjoy consumer electronics. This is going to set the framework for development, and indeed, will assure at least a pair of effective and worthy competitors poised to beat up on Microsoft when they try to come to play.

      At least until Microsoft buys one of them . . .
  • Shame... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ctar (211926) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {ratrehpotsirhc}> on Thursday December 13, 2001 @06:18AM (#2698084) Homepage
    Its a shame these companies will end up spending time, money, and energy on minor technological differences in the way perform a very simple task...Digitizing and manipulating video from live television.

    These companies should save their energy, and possibly share resources for the real battle they have yet to face, which is against the networks.

    This technology has the potential of becoming as significant and controversial as Napster...

    • Re:Shame... (Score:3, Informative)

      by tswinzig (210999)
      These companies should save their energy, and possibly share resources for the real battle they have yet to face, which is against the networks.

      TiVo has CBS and NBC as equity partners, so I don't know how much fighting is going to occur.
    • I remember reading/hearing something about the networks and the pvr companies back when the pvr stuff first came out. Some network guy said they (networks) were very concerned about the pvr stuff, but they weren't sure what they could do about it, and they figured it was bound to happen eventually, so they invested in the companies developing the pvr stuff. Guy made it sound like the network's hadn't decided if they'd fight or join the pvr folks, so they hedged. Interesting to imagine what would've happened to napster if the RIAA invested instead of calling out the lawyers right away...
  • by AtariDatacenter (31657) on Thursday December 13, 2001 @06:19AM (#2698087)
    Unfortunately, with all these patents flying around for very basic methods of PVR operation, it really makes creating an open source PVR project an absolute MINEFIELD. Heck, it almost seems like a strategy that is worthy of Microsoft. (Hey! Why isn't anyone suing THEM?)

    PVRs are going to become more and more important years down the road. And they're going to mix (or are mixing) with VOD functionality. And Microsoft looks like it wants to make the PVR part of a television/home entertainment hub.

    But how the heck can a serious open source PVR project be started in this minefield of a legal environment?
    • (IANAL)

      By not making any commercial use of these patents.

      Any individual can make a *private* use of these patents (if I remember well)
    • See this is one of the big potential areas for linux I think. Someone could create a PVR distro that installs and works with certain cable tuner cards, and if you have the proper hardware, boom, instant PVR. It could use the best codec for your hardware, even DivX in a year or two, it would be cheap and extremly dynamic. You could just add storage at will, but things like this prevent that kind of project from happening. Such a shame to.
    • What are you guys smoking. Here is a link to an open source DVR [sourceforge.net]. That's in it's fifth version and is completely stable. A quick search on Google might have kept your collective feet out of your mouths.
      • Nice to see this project has finally gotten some steam. It *looks* like it just records at this point, though.

        I wish they had gone more the route of a DVR, rather than a DVR program that is wrapped by a windows manager. That is, it is made for TV-out use, and not mouse/keyboard centric.

        Maybe I aught to join this project and see if there is some good core material that could be used.

        BTW, thank you for the heads-up.
  • by caferace (442) on Thursday December 13, 2001 @06:31AM (#2698107) Homepage
    First off, it's only logical to vilify the PTO. There is no doubt they (in general) cannot get their act together.

    Reflect on this though, and try and keep it in mind when we as a collective group bitch and moan so loudly about software patents.

    Typically, at the date a patent is applied for, most of what we consider "prior art" is pretty much bleeding ege and below your general radar. The fact of the matter is that in early R&D phases, many small companies may be working on very similar ideas. I've worked for several of these over the years, and while some had patentable ideas, most didn't bother and simply forged ahead to get the product out the door and into the public hands. From a consumers point of view, that is great! From a companies CFO standpoint? Oh shit.

    Anyhow, I'm rambling again. This is a fight in which it seems prudent to take a side. In this case, I only see one champion, and that is TiVo. They cooperate with the hacking community, they use our favorite OS. They don't hide behind a veil of invulnerability (far from it) snd seem to be able to straddle the fence between commercial interests and the public good.

    I'm backing TiVo.

    • by KarmaBlackballed (222917) on Thursday December 13, 2001 @08:50AM (#2698282) Homepage Journal
      I've worked for several of these over the years, and while some had patentable ideas, most didn't bother and simply forged ahead to get the product out the door

      That happens more often than many people think.

      From a consumers point of view, that is great!

      Exactly.

      logical to vilify the PTO. There is no doubt they (in general) cannot get their act together.

      The people I've met from the patent office are good people trying to do a good job. What I think they do not appreciate, and most of the public has also not sensed, is that this is an absurd task in the first place. There is no right way to do it. The evidence keeps popping up but the remedial attention is always directed at the specific incidents, not at the fundamental concept that intellectual monopolies do what we as an enlightened society detest: they restrict the evolution and application of ideas.

      This is not a football game. Taking sides is missing the point.

    • I only see one champion, and that is TiVo. They cooperate with the hacking community, they use our favorite OS. They don't hide behind a veil of invulnerability (far from it) snd seem to be able to straddle the fence between commercial interests and the public good.



      Not to mention the fact that they are a technology company who actually has a business plan. They also did not burn thier venture captial money on stupid things and instead used it to bring an excellent product and service to market. From what I hear they have enough cash to operate for the next couple of years, inspite of the recession, thier user base and earnings are increasing as expected, and they will probably be profitable in 2-3 years. Whats not to like about this company.

  • Patents ? (Score:1, Troll)

    by AftanGustur (7715)


    And just how is this patent-circus supposed to be good for the economy ?

    • by Rogerborg (306625)
      • And just how is this patent-circus supposed to be good for the economy ?

      There are more lawyers in the USA than there are gas pumps. There are more law students in college than are currently in practice. Half of both Congress and the Senate are members of the American Bar Association, as were the previous President and her husband. The winner of the most recent Presidential election studied at Vanderbilt Law School, and the people who gave the Presidency to the other guy were all law graduates.

      Won't someone please think of the lawyers!

      • The winner of the most recent Presidential election studied at Vanderbilt Law School, and the people who gave the Presidency to the other guy were all law graduates.

        I didn't realize the framers graduated from law school.

  • Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bartab (233395) on Thursday December 13, 2001 @06:35AM (#2698116)
    Let the two companies fight out their patents between each other. Likely most will be invalidated, as I'm sure the basic one that TiVo was awarded recently will be. After they're done fighting M$ will either buy up the winner (at a lower cost than now) or sic their own legal team on the patents. I'd make a comment on the obvious nature of patents getting approved, but that would be redundant to dozens of other stories posted over the years. In the PVR market there's only going to be two main players. The mains will be one who kiss content producers ass, and the first one to please the consumer. Microsoft is setup to be the first, and TiVo is making sure they are not the second.

    I currently own a TiVo, and simply would stop watching commercial TV altogether without some such device, but their recent business activity has stopped me from upgrading my stand alone to a DirecTiVo. I still think SonicBlue should release the software for their boxes open source and make money off the boxes, they're a seriously bottom contender in the market, and free help on the software (it needs it) combined with some penetration would help.
    • I believe this is a tactic on the part of Sonic Blue to keep Tivo mired in court until they run out of money, which I've heard may be as early as Q1 2002.

      Disclaimer: It's far too early in the AM, and I may have hallucinated all this.
    • Re:Good (Score:2, Insightful)

      by billcopc (196330)
      Let the two companies fight out their patents between each other.

      Patents are like "Magic: The Gathering" cards. They've got evil looking avatars (in this case, the lawyers). They have a bunch of stats that affect the outcome (money and public image). You roll dice to bring random luck to decide the actual winner (an old vicious judge), and in the end, whether you've won or lost the battle, you eventually realize you've just wasted your money.

    • This is probably a great point for an open source project. Complaints in the past are that RH can't make enough money on support. Well, with SonicBlue, they get a monthly stream to support ongoing costs, and the hardware is largely commodity, and would be paid for.

      Perfect opportunity for OSS. Unless someone wants to build the infrastructure to support some kludged tv listing server, all of the oss projects and boxen are still going to need to call up the central server (thus needing a subscription.)
  • by Platinum Dragon (34829) on Thursday December 13, 2001 @07:21AM (#2698172) Journal
    TiVo and SONICBlue both holding patents on parts of PVR technology... reading the synopsis, I immediately thought of this post [slashdot.org] from a story on Macromedia and Adobe getting involved in a patent fight [slashdot.org]:

    "I gained a friend in a the large company that I worked for legal dept... Basically the story went like this, when we are sued we look at their portfolio of patents, then look at our portfolio of patents that we have that might cause their products to infringe... Which ever pile is taller gets paid royalties by the other company. That is a defensive patent."

    At the time, I called it one of the "stupidest things I've ever read." Now we get something even stupider; patent fights over parts of the same aggregation of technology that is a PVR.

    There are two ways for this to end; either both sides kiss, make up, and milk future PVR manufacturers for massive licensing fees, or the resulting patent apocalypse wipes out at least one combatant, severely harms another, and helps to stall future innovation in home video storage technology.
  • My previous employer was almost bought out by SONICBlue. Ken Potashner even came to the office and spewed his "business philosophy" to us.

    Then the SB lawyers got ahold of the deal. The LOI (letter of intent) was signed, but they came up with a 50 page document for the Definitive Agreement (a legal term for a binding contract tp buy us). One of the honchos at our company said that that is about 40 pages longer than it should be.

    They were such jerks at the negotiating table that eventually our major partner backed out of the deal, leaving our company and its product to wither on the vine.

    I hope TiVo runs SB into the ground. If it comes down to it, TiVo could be bought out by AOL (a mahor shareholder) to boost their legal fund. Hell, why not, I worked for one of their companies too once.
  • IANAL and very far from being one, but...

    In UK patent law there is an 'obviousness' clause - if a patent claim is obvious to a reasonable proportion of people trained in a suitable field then it doesn't stand as a patent claim.

    I'd argue that the major patents these two organisations are trying to bandy about are obvious not only to softies, or people who work on digtal video or the TV industry, but obvious to pretty much everyone with an IQ over 110.

    US patent law doesn't have such a clause that I am aware of (but, as stated before, IANAL and definately not an American one) and so it's possible to patent something blindingly obvious and throw lawyers at anyone who does the same, obvious thing.

    It seems a tad on the silly side to me...

    Ian Woods
    • In the US the standard is "obvious to a skilled practitioner of the art". Mind you, it doesn't really define what "the art" is, as it differs in each case (is the art software in general for software patents, is it just technology in general, is it a specific part of the software industry?). These open ended questions are a major part of the reason the PTO has been failing to keep up with rapid change in technology and the business world in the last 20-30 years, IMHO. I'm not a lawyer, but I've worked with enough of them to know that that all they have and use is a heuristic knowledge of what the patent office tends to accept and what it tends to not accept, and they advise companies to file as many patents as possible, and no lawyer will ever tell you "I don't think this is patentable" or "won't be awarded a patent in the end". This also sucks, as it encourages companies to just submit willy-nilly and get whatever they can accepted.
    • In UK patent law there is an 'obviousness' clause - if a patent claim is obvious to a reasonable proportion of people trained in a suitable field then it doesn't stand as a patent claim.

      However that requires someone skilled in the appropriate field to examine the application. Patent examiners generally do not have the relevent knowlage.
    • The concept is obvious, sure, but are the details of how to design a device that performs the functions of a Tivo or Replay box that obvious? Even if the major functionality is obvious, the details are probably still patent worthy. Who knows what problems they had to solve that you can't even think of.
    • Brillient observation about US patents!
      I my self have come up with a rather intreguing medium for information exchange That I'd like patented. I call it "paper"...
  • When companies go down this murky road, few ever return. Which will be a footnote in 3 years? TiVo is short on cash and SonicBlue will spend whatever they have fighting TV networks, defending "I.P." and generally failing to build a united front the PVR industry needs.

    I think I'll just build my own... that way I know I'll still get support in 3 years.

  • by Sorklin (88002) on Thursday December 13, 2001 @10:06AM (#2698473)
    Someone on the AVS Tivo board [avsforum.com] suggested that this may be a gambit by both TIVO and SonicBlue to validate their Patents.

    When you think about it, it comes at an odd time (with TIVO being awarded more patents.) [yahoo.com] This person suggested that SonicBlue would sue TIVO over certain patents, TIVO would countersue, both would settle and cross-license and the patents in question would have precedent in the court system. Both could then turn on MS and demand licensing fees for the validated patents.

    Hopefully something like that is happening.
    • Hopefully something like this is happening!?!!

      Hopefully NOT. Patents on the basic operation of a PVR will only hurt us, the consumer.
    • That would be quite the genius move, but then you get into problematic insider abuse questions if you have both sides agree to such a scheme up front.

      Besides, doesn't the simple act of GETTING a patent set a useful precident? It's not like most companies go out and attack a tiny company to validate every patent they receive...
      • IANAL, or even close to one, but I'm not sure what insider abuse could be considered here, since this has nothing to do with investment, or insider trading.

        Since the deal is between them, and they are suing each other, couldn't they agree to anything they want to agree to? Its not like they couldn't just sue MS right now with the patents that they have (unless they can't - ie MS doesn't infringe). So suing each other isn't underhanded in that way. It just gives them more legal weight behind their patents. It would discourage MS from contesting if the patents were already validated by the court system.

        I dunno. I think its actually not the case. I think its business as usuall, but I like the theory presented by the person on AVS, so I put it out here.
        • But imagine if other industries used the same scheme?

          Dodge could sue Jeep and both could settle by acknowledging each others' patents, and the one who benefits most would be Daimler Chrysler who owns both of them.

          Doesn't seem legal to me, but IANAL either.
          • by jmauro (32523)
            And if Dodge and Jeep sued each other it would make no sense at all. They are both owned by Daimler-Chrysler. I don't think you can sue yourself. Unless something has gone horribly, horribly wrong. But then again.
            • That's my whole point. If they were allowed to sue each other just to compromise and agree on each others patents, which serves the greater good of the parent company twice.

              And yes, they could sue each other. Being owned by the same parent doesn't mean the parent can be the only arbitor in a dispute ;)
        • If they agree to bring a lawsuit, and agree beforehand to come to a settlement, there is no case. It can be vacated. They can be found in contempt. There might be criminal/civil penalties (this last point I'm not sure on.)

          It's not 'insider trading', but it is not allowed. Whether explicitly illegal, or just a reason to slap them with contempt, I don't know. But in the long run, if it is uncovered, the original case is moot.
    • This would be refreshing, but I doubt it would actually happen.

      My whole problem with this, is why don't they realize that the major enemy in this fight is Microsoft. So far, I've seen TiVo get patents, Sonic Blue get patents, but not some from Microsoft on the PVR front.

      Then again perhaps they do realize it... here's hoping.
    • This would be big time collusion and conspiracy to create a multi-party monopoly (I don't know the legal but two parties colluding can make a monopoly in the practical sense). Considering they are both considerably smaller than MS (even though they have LARGE investors) the justice department would be on them like numbnuts on AOL.
  • SONICBlue sues TiVo. TiVo countersues.

    Scenario #1: If neither one runs out of money before the settlement talks are complete, they settler by cross-licensing. Once they're both happily cross-licensed, they have a new market completely locked up unto themselves. We have two winners and a whole bunch of losers.

    Scenario #2: Somebody runs out of money. (Evidently, this would most likely be TiVo.) We have one winner and even more losers.

    Either way, we're all a bunch of losers.

    • Everybody outside America ignore the result.

      Software Patents are destroying America's ability to compete with the rest of the world.

      • Software Patents are destroying America's ability to compete with the rest of the world.
        Amen to that...unless we can get the rest of the world to implement software patents and sign treaties so US patents are valid in their countries too...&ltsmirk&gtoh, we're already working on that...&lt/smirk&gt
  • Can someone please remind me exactly which part of this alleged patent is non-obvious.
  • ...that one guy copyrighted Linux and then try to sue companies for royalities? Really, we all know that TiVo came first. Why is this even an issue?

    Or a better question: Why doesn't the patent guys bother to check if something else still exists? You can't patent something if it already exists.

    I'm just waiting for Microsoft to copyright the word "software".
    • that one guy copyrighted Linux and then try to sue companies for royalities?

      No because that never happened. There was someone who tradmarked Linux but Copyright, patent, and trademark are all different things.

      Why doesn't the patent guys bother to check if something else still exists?

      They do... at least in theory. You have to realize though that patents take many years to work through the system and something that is commonplace today may not have even been public back when the patent was applied for.
      • They do... at least in theory. You have to realize though that patents take many years to work through the system and something that is commonplace today may not have even been public back when the patent was applied for.

        Doesn't that defeat the point? Somebody patents something, waits for somebody ELSE to create it, and then when the paperwork gets finished on the patent (years later), sues the guy for creating it. That's almost like the UNISYS royality stink with the GIF format.
  • C'mon people this is par for the course of any and all industries.

    All I know is that my ReplayTV kicks the shiat out of a Tivo. The 30 second skip button alone makes it better...plus there's an undocumented feature that allows you to skip ahead MINUTES by entering a number before pressing the skip button. Heaven!

    I remember salivating over ReplayTV back in the early 90's when Tivo was barely a glimmer in a marketer's eye. Wasn't it Marc Andreeson's baby after Netscape? There's no question they have been the innovators in this field...proprietary OS or not. Tivo just has better marketing.

    While I may not be a big fan of their taking part in our system's "sue everybody" philosophy, I respect ReplayTV (and SonicBlue by association) for standing up to the networks and incorporating the functionality that I as a consumer want. Tivo is the bitch of the companies that slashdotters love to hate (Big Media). Why would you support them? Just because their (spyware) product is based on Linux?

  • Client side PVR is doomed until the MTBF of hard disks rises well about the current 2 years.
  • Why don't they just sit down with their patent stacks and see who has the bigger stack. The one with the bigger stack simply then gets paid the percentage difference from the other for what amounts to patent protection from being sued and wasting lots of money in lawyer bills.

    You know, like the rest of the industry does!
  • I still don't quite understand how people patent things that have no new innovation. Software patents just seem so silly. Real, mechanical patents usually involve either a product that never existed before because of it's physical design or a new more efficient process of manufacturing. Shouldn't you be patenting the methods for pausing television, not the idea. But I guess that's part of the reason I'm not a lawyer or politician. Because the do things that are silly.
  • Silly rabbit. Patents are for innovation.
  • Seems like an open and shut case to me. ReplayTV was released first so SONICBlue wins, right? What am I missing?

    Of course, whether or not these patents should exist in the first place is another argument entirely.
  • How's this for a strategy. I have IP that I want to sue MS over. I can't afford to sue MS. Someone in the same industry is (in my mind) stepping on my IP. They have a similar claim on me. We get together and come up with a great idea!

    We sue each other, promising to put up crappy defenses. Each of us wins the IP suit and then get into a mutual liscensing agreement. Each of us then sue's MS with a precedent in our pocket.

    QED!

    =MikeT
  • . . . is the other shoe dropping.
  • I just wanted to point out that I predicted immediate litigation in a comment I made on the prior story (along with a smartass comment about microsoft and their patents) and I got moderated into oblivion.

    They are probably going to spend a lot of money on counsel, fight about this for a while, and then probably settle with cross-licensing deals that will make it difficult for anyone else to break into thos market.
  • A `PVR' seems to be impression to be a VCR with a different storage device - a hard disk insteasd of tape. The only differences here (like rewinding footage taped only a moment ago) are because of the use of a hard disk rather than tape.

    What am I missing?
  • So what's the diff between the Pause Technology [gotuit.com] patent and the TiVo Trick play pause patent?

    This whole thing is confusing.
  • Ohhhhhhh, man.

    --Blair
    "Now I get it."

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

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