After being awarded $115 million in damages, ActiveVideo Networks is now seeking an injunction against Verizon Communications, which it claims is infringing its patents with the FiOS interactive television service. Verizon will no doubt continue to contest the case. The company said it disagrees with the decision and is confident that a court of appeals will reach a similar conclusion.
ActiveVideo filed suit against Verizon in May 2010, alleging infringement of patents. They included US 6,034,678 “Cable television system with remote interactive processor,” US 5,550,578 “Interactive and conventional television information system,” US 6,100,883 “Home interface controller for providing interactive cable television” and US 6,205,582 “Interactive cable television system with frame server”.
The earliest of these, filed in 1994, apparently claims to cover a form of remote channel selection. Interestingly, it also uses the term “Smart TV” in the context of allowing users to select programmes through a primitive form of interactive navigation.
A jury found that Verizon had infringed the patents and ActiveVideo was awarded damages totalling $115 million. Verizon plans to appeal and will not pay any damages in the meantime. ActiveVideo has now filed for an injunction for Verizon to cease and desist from further infringement of its patents.
“The decision of the court to uphold our intellectual property rights was very clear,” said Jeff Miller, the chief executive of ActiveVideo Networks. “We insist that Verizon immediately cease its unlawful use of the patented technology developed by the employees and investors of ActiveVideo Networks.”
Launched in 2005, Verizon FiOS is an internet, telephone and television service delivered over a fibre-optic network that passes over 16 million homes. It has around 3.8 million television customers.
ActiveVideo Networks, born out of an earlier company called ICTV, promotes a system it now calls CloudTV, which enables service providers to deploy applications in the network and deliver them to devices and displays as a video stream.
The CloudTV system is currently deployed with a number of operators, including Cablevision, which is involved in a separate patent dispute with Verizon. Cablevision uses the CloudTV platform to provide a number of interactive television applications, including news, sports, and kids mosaic navigation channels.
After many years of seeking to promote its particular approach to interactive television over legacy cable television networks, the concept of cloud television may finally be gaining currency in a world of diverse connected devices and displays. Time will tell whether ActiveVideo Networks will prevail in asserting its claims to the territory.