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Victory For Virgin Media In Final Rovi Patent Case

Written by Fozia Cheychi on 27 November 2015

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A judgment has been delivered by The Court of Appeal in relation to the last outstanding patent case that was brought by Rovi against Virgin Media. The appeal by Rovi has been dismissed in its entirety. Rovi has again been ordered to reimburse Virgin Media’s costs and the patent will now be revoked.

In May 2014 Rovi initiated proceedings for patent infringement against Virgin Media. The contentious patent concerned signals relating to the set top boxes. In short the screen on the set top boxes generates a prompt inviting the input from the user, if the displayed input is made, a further message is generated, or something else happens in the set top box by way of the execution of computer code. The alleged invention centred around two signals. The first signal is an “identification signal” and it is this signal that is responsible for generating an indication symbol on the TV screen. The second signal is known as the “information signal”, It is this signal that displays the message that is intended to appear if the user presses the relevant button on a remote control and responds to the initial prompt displayed by the identification signal.

Virgin Media accepted that if the patent was valid then there would be an infringement. It was however contended that the patent is in fact invalid on the grounds of anticipation and/or obviousness in light of three pieces of prior art.

Mr Justice Mann found Rovi’s claims of patent infringement to be invalid and held that the patent was invalid for lack of inventive step, and ordered the patent be revoked in its entirety. Rovi appealed this decision.

The Court of Appeal has today upheld the decision of the High Court. The Right Honourable Lords Justices Moore-Bick, Floyd and Kitchin have rejected Rovi’s appeal in its entirety. Further Rovi have been ordered to cover Virgin Media’s costs. The patent in question will now be revoked.

The latest Court of Appeal decision marks a further victory for Virgin Media. In July 2015 the Court of Appeal upheld the revocation of a patent that related to live TV relocation and VOD. Rovi had asserted eleven patents against Virgin Media, all eleven of the patents have now been revoked by either the English courts or the European Patent Office.

Following this victory Brigitte Trafford, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Virgin Media, commented: “Virgin Media’s staunch defence of Rovi’s meritless patent claims has been vindicated in every single case heard by the High Court and the Court of Appeal. Each and every court decision has confirmed that our position regarding Rovi patents has been justified.”

Rovi were not available for comment.

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