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ActiveVideo says court decision favors it against Verizon’s FiOS

US OTT specialist ActiveVideo is claiming a major victory in its court battle with Verizon in the US over VoD patent infringements

By PETER WHITE

Published: 19 May, 2011

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US OTT specialist ActiveVideo is claiming a major victory in its court battle with Verizon in the US over VoD patent infringements. The Verizon suite will now go to trial in July after the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, invalidated the claims against ActiveVideo on two key Verizon patents.

The patents in question were being used to make claims that the ActiveVideo technology was infringing Verizon patents rather than the other way around. The Verizon patents were also cited in a suit against ActiveVideo customer Cablevision, the US cable company whose New York footprint sits in an area covered by Verizon.

“The decision is important to ActiveVideo and to our customers,” said Jeff Miller, president and CEO of ActiveVideo Networks. “Obviously we’re pleased at the elimination of Verizon’s claims against our company, but it is equally important that the ruling removes claims by Verizon against our customer, Cablevision.”

ActiveVideo is pushing five of its own patents that it believes are fundamental to interactive TV services such as video on demand, and specifically how Verizon offers VoD on FiOS TV. We’re not sure where that leaves other cable operators using VoD that don’t license the ActiveVideo patents.

“We are confident that we will recover not only damages for Verizon’s infringement, but also enjoin Verizon from using ActiveVideo’s patented technology,” Miller continued. “Beginning in 2005, we shared our technology with Verizon and tried to reach an agreement to deploy our CloudTV solution on the FiOS network. Verizon declined to do business with us and instead has infringed our patents.”

ActiveVideo talks about its CloudTV delivering any content, over any network to any screen and introduced it in 2008. Both Cablevision and Time Warner Cable have used it to show the Olympics. It appears as a single channel with a mosaic of active video tiles. Click on one and you get that channel or in the Olympics case, that sport. This March Cablevision said it would offer up to 20 personalized mosaics on its system.

ActiveVideo has said that it wants Consumer Electronics equipment vendors to license the technology from it, but so far only Funai has publicly said it will take a license. Funai makes TVs for Philips, Emerson, Magnavox and Sylvania and will integrate ActiveVideo’s CloudTV into selected TV sets and Blu-ray models.

Blockbuster was set to use the same VoD interface for its online service prior to it being bought by Dish Network, so we will have to wait and see if that deal goes ahead.

As we understand it the stream is created for the particular device you are viewing on, whether that needs Adobe Flash video or whatever format. When you are using a remote control on a set top, the instructions go all the way back to a cloud server and a new stream is sent instantaneously. It sounds a little like the way TiVo does things in the cloud, but with a completely different UI.

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