New victory for Virgin Media in Rovi patent battle

May 15, 2014 12.25 Europe/London By Julian Clover

virgin-epgVirgin Media has clocked up its seventh victory against Rovi in its series of patent disputes.

Rovi has brought a number of claims against the operator relating to various aspects of electronic programme guides. Of those that have so far come to court, all have received judgment in favour of Virgin Media.

The patent invalidated today – the “superimposed program information” patent – covered the sending of two specific signals to a TV or set-top box. One signal results in a superimposed information prompt on-screen and the other signal provides the information itself. The judge, Mr Justice Mann, found this concept is obvious and the patent invalid.

The judge also noted there could be no question of infringement given the invalidity.

Brigitte Trafford, chief corporate affairs officer at Virgin Media, said: “Rovi’s patent claims continue to be found invalid. The Court today dismissed all elements of Rovi’s patent and we believe none of these claims should ever have been brought. This approach is proving to be expensive for Rovi as they continue to lose in court.”

In response Samir Armaly, executive vice president of worldwide intellectual property and licensing for Rovi said: “We are disappointed by the Court’s ruling today and will evaluate our opportunity for appeal. Based on historical UK court statistics, we understood that any patent litigation in the UK could be challenging and protracted. That said this decision covers just one of the patents in Rovi’s extensive worldwide portfolio and we have several other patent trials pending with Virgin. We remain committed to defending our valuable intellectual property from ongoing infringement, and protecting the rights and interests of our existing patent licensees in the UK, and are confident that we will ultimately prevail.”

Rovi must now reimburse Virgin Media for legal costs incurred defending the claims.