Interactive television technology providers OpenTV and the Walt Disney media and entertainment corporation have settled patent litigation brought by OpenTV’s ACTV company against Disney and its ABC and ESPN subsidiaries.

The patents relate to certain systems and methods for synchronising Internet content with television programming, enabling television viewers to receive content related to a broadcast program through the Internet.

OpenTV had claimed that the enhanced television system offered by ABC and ESPN in connection with football coverage and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire infringed three ACTV patents.

As part of the settlement, OpenTV has granted The Walt Disney Company a non-exclusive, royalty-bearing license to use and to exploit the patents in the suit. Walt Disney Internet Group also entered talks for a non-exclusive, multi-year development agreement with OpenTV for the creation and marketing of enhanced television programming.

OpenTV is controlled by Liberty Media. In 2003 OpenTV completed the acquisition of the ACTV group of companies which focus primarily on addressable advertising management systems.

“We are very pleased that we have been able to resolve this litigation with Disney, ABC and ESPN in a mutually beneficial manner,” said Jim Chiddix, Chairman and CEO of OpenTV. “Disney’s agreement to license these patents and our late stage discussions with Walt Disney Internet Group to work with us to develop enhanced TV programming provides a solid foundation on which we can create exciting television for viewers across the United States.”

“We look forward to working with OpenTV on enhanced television programming that will improve the traditional viewing experience in new ways,” said Rick Mandler, Vice President, General Manager, Enhanced TV, Walt Disney Internet Group.