Infrastructure // PC & Servers
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3/18/2010
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Verizon Files Patent Suit Over Cablevision Boxes

The International Trade Commission complaint says Cablevision's set-top boxes infringe five Verizon patents pertaining to video downloading and social networking features.

The ongoing squabbling between Verizon Communications and Cablevision Systems took a serious turn this week when Verizon filed a patent-infringement suit against its metropolitan New York City competitor.

Specifically, Verizon filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission over five patents that Verizon maintains Cablevision is infringing. Verizon markets its FiOS high-speed Internet service against Cablevision's similar service in the New York City area.

"Each of these five patents is important to Verizon's success in the highly competitive fields of digital video and entertainment services and communications services," Verizon stated in its complaint before the ITC, adding that the patents "enable Verizon to offer more advanced and differentiated products and services than its competitors."

Cablevision, which like Verizon has used testy statements in their mutual dealings, said in a statement, "It is becoming increasingly clear that Verizon is having difficulty competing on the merits in the marketplace, so they are resorting to filing lawsuits and pursuing regulatory bailouts. We obviously plan a vigorous defense."

Through the complaint, Verizon seeks to halt imports of TV set-top boxes bound for Cablevision subscribers. Generally complaints filed with the ITC can consume several months, even years, but Verizon indicated it will pursue procedural measures to shorten the time in which a decision on the litigation can be reached.

The patents involved in the complaint are concerned with set-top box features for downloading videos and using social networking.

In February, Cablevision announced a PC to TV Media Relay service that will enable its customers to send images and data, including photos, home videos, and documents, from their PC screens to their TV screens in real time. It was not immediately clear whether Verizon's ITC complaint seeks to address Cablevision's PC to TV Media Relay service, however.

The two firms have locked horns in recent months over TV access to Cablevision's Madison Square Garden HD sports offerings and other TV programming.

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