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Cisco gets its TiVo retaliation in first


Published: 8 June, 2012


TiVo has been sued this week by Cisco, with the bigger company wanting a court to make it clear that TiVo is a big bully and no-one can launch any DVRs without its permission. Naturally the tiny TiVo decided to sue Cisco back.

What most people will not remember is that Cisco always said it was covered by a patent to rival Replay TV, a TiVo-style business that started around the same time and foundered and was sold off. Cisco licensed its intellectual property the Scientific Atlanta people always told us.

But trying to invalidate TiVo's core Timewarp patent is virtually legal madness, and even Cisco, which has inexhaustible legal resources will hit nothing but a brick wall with this move, so why do it.

We figure that in spending $5 billion buying NDS, Cisco has suddenly realized that the NDS XVT DVR technology could be found to infringe on TiVo patents, resulting in massive legal payments to TiVo down the road, and end up inflating the price of buying NDS considerably.

Others have pointed to AT&T and Verizon, the former of which has already given up the ghost on its TiVo suit and agreed a payout, and the latter must be considering the same. Motorola provides more DVR set tops to both of these than Cisco so you would have thought Google (who is buying Motorola) would have been the more active player her in settling this, so we are pretty sure it is the NDS situation that is in its mind.

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