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SONICblue sues TiVo, alleging patent infringement on digital video recording

By May Wong The Associated Press
Thursday December 13, 2001



SAN JOSE — SONICblue Inc. said it filed a patent infringement suit against rival TiVo Inc. on Wednesday, bringing to court their fight for licensing claims of digital video recorder technologies. 

DVRs, which record television shows on a hard drive and can pause live programming, promised to revolutionize the way people watch TV when first introduced in 1999. Though consumers have been slow to adopt the new technology, analysts still predict it will take off one day. 

Both Silicon Valley-based companies won patents this year for various fundamental DVR technologies. SONICblue filed suit in federal court in San Jose after it said licensing talks with TiVo failed. 

“TiVo basically has three choices — partner with us, license our (intellectual property), or get sued by us,” said Ken Potashner, SONICblue’s chief executive and chairman. 

TiVo officials denied the two companies have engaged in licensing discussions and responded: “We are disappointed that SONICblue is opting to use litigation to build visibility for its company, as opposed to constructively working with others in the industry to build its business. We intend to take appropriate and rational legal steps to protect our technology.” 

SONICblue, meanwhile, claims its products do not infringe on TiVo’s patents. 

SONICblue also faces a suit by major U.S. television networks and their parent companies, which claim the new ReplayTV 4000 DVR violates their copyrights because the device allows users to e-mail recorded programs to each other. 


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