Cisco’s got a new plan to try and dominate the DVR market. It’s going to sue its biggest competitor—TiVo—for NOT sharing its patented technology.Cisco filed a lawsuit this week against TiVo because TiVo refused to licence its DVR technology to Cisco, reports Reuters. It also accused TiVo of not wanting to licence the patents so it could sue.
Well, yeah. That would be the point of a patent, wouldn’t it?
TiVo isn’t a patent troll. It didn’t just buy a bunch of DVR patents so it could go around suing people. It actually makes its living with DVRs. Cisco competes with TiVo, making DVR set top boxes via its Scientific Atlantic unit.
Cisco sells its DVR boxes to companies like AT&T, Time Warner Cable and Verizon Communications. TiVo is suing, or has won suits, against a lot of these companies.
For instance, in January AT&T ponied up $215 million plus monthly licensing fees to settle a patent lawsuit with TiVo. Dish Network And EchoStar also agreed to pay TiVo.
Meanwhile, TiVo is suing Verizon—and Motorola Mobility (now owned by Google).
So, in defence of its customers, Cisco wants a judge to invalidate the four patents in question or declare that Cisco’s DVRs don’t infringe on them.
We suspect that what Cisco really wants is to cause TiVo a pain in its pocketbook. Patent litigation is expensive and TiVo is hurting. On Wednesday it posted a crummy quarter: a quarterly loss of $20.8 million even though revenue rose 48 per cent to $67.8 million.