Rovi Corporation has sued Hulu, the online video service that offers TV shows in the Delaware District Court for patent infringement. The patents-in-suit are US6396546 (the ‘546 patent), US7103906 (the ‘906 patent) and US7769775 (the ‘775 patent). Yahoo reported that Rovi currently licenses these patents to many big players in the industry. In the patent lawsuit filed on July 28, 2011, Hulu has been accused of infringing the patents thereby causing substantial damages to Rovi.
According to Reuters, Rovi Corporation provides integrated solutions incorporated in its customers products and services that simplify and guide customers in their interaction with digital entertainment. Rovi is involved in providing interactive program guides (IPGs), IPG advertising, embedded licensing technologies (such as recommendations and search capability), media recognition technologies and licensing of its extensive database of descriptive information about television, movie, music, books, and game content, and content protection technologies and services. Rovi had sued Amazon and Imdb in January over program guide patents.
Hulu was launched in 2008 as a joint venture between NBCUniversal (NBCU, the parent of NBC) and News Corp. (the parent of FOX). Disney (the parent of ABC) became a shareholder and content partner in 2009. Hulu was recently in news as there were speculations that Hulu was one sale and many big players such as Google and Microsoft had shown interest to buy Hulu.
Further details about the patents-in-suit:
US6396546: Electronic television program guide schedule system and method
“A method for use in an electronic program guide system and for providing a user with an interactive promotional display for television programs, comprising:
displaying at least one program listing in a first portion of a screen;
providing a user with an opportunity to indicate a desire to access an interactive promotional display for at least one of the at least one program listing; and
displaying the interactive promotional display in a second portion of the screen for the at least one of the at least one program listing while the at least one program listing is displayed in the first portion of the screen.”
US7103906: User controlled multi-device media-on-demand system
“A method for providing configurable access to media in a media-on-demand system comprising the steps of: delivering the media to a first client device through a first communications link, wherein the media is configured in a format compatible with identified device properties of said first client device and said first client device is associated with a first user; recording a bookmark specifying a position in the media; and delivering the media to a second client device through a second communications link, said delivery to said second client device beginning at said position specified by said recorded bookmark, wherein the media is configured in a format compatible with identified device properties of said second client device and said second client device also is associated with said first user.”
US7769775: Search engine for video and graphics with access authorization
“A method for retrieving graphic or video content, comprising: automatically acquiring, without user input, searchable file information related to graphic and video files, the searchable file information comprising a field indicating whether each graphic or video file requires authorization to access; creating one or more identifiers from the searchable file information; storing the one or more identifiers in a database; receiving search criteria; searching the searchable file information for matching searchable file information, wherein the matching searchable file information matches the search criteria; identifying matching identifiers associated with the matching searchable file information; providing access to graphic and video files associated with the matching identifiers that do not require authorization to access; receiving a user selection of a particular graphic or video file, wherein the particular graphic or video file is associated with an identifier that does not require authorization to access; receiving a user instruction to perform a file function on the particular graphic or video file, wherein the file function comprises one or more of viewing, saving, erasing, recording, downloading, and sending; and performing the file function in response to receiving the user instruction.”
Image Source: Freepatentsonline.com
Claims Source: USPTO