11.27 Europe/London, July 18, 2011 By Julian CloverRovi has lost a case brought against Ziggo after a Dutch court ruled a patent used in the cablenet’s electronic programme guide to be invalid in the Netherlands.
The Patent (EP 1 244 300) relates to viewer navigation of the TV listings, the scheduling system, and the control of the personal video recorder.
Rovi had claimed the indirect infringement of the patent, but the district court in The Hague accepted Ziggo’s counterclaim that an invalid patent could not be infringed. Ziggo’s implementation of the technology was far wider than covered under the original patent.
The cablenet was awarded €151,033 in costs.
An earlier case brought Canal Digitaal was cancelled after the Dutch satellite platform came to an agreement with the patent holder.
The case has echoes of action broad by Rovi (Gemstar) against Virgin Media in January 2008. Patents EP 0969662, EP 1377049 and EP 1613066 – part of the same patent family as EP 1 244 300 – related to navigation between screen displays, filtering channel lists into viewers’ favourites and transferring a recorded programme from a set-top box to another device. It was dismissed in March 2011 after the Court of Appeal agreed the patents to be unpatentable under English law.
A number of other European operators have agreed to Rovi’s patent programme including KDG, Canal+, BSkyB, Portugal Telecom, SKY Italia, Sky Deutschland, Unitymedia and UPC Broadband.