VOD Patent Lawsuit Filed Against Major Cable Operators

Michael Hayes
NEW YORK — Cable companies distributing adult content through video-on-demand may have infringed upon a patent held by Old Lyme, Conn.-based USA Video Technology, according to a lawsuit filed by the company against seven major cable operators.

Among those named by the technology firm in the patent infringement suit were Charter Communications, Time Warner, Cox Communications and Comcast Cable Communications. Various Comcast subsidiary companies based in Texas brought the total number of defendants to seven. The suit centers around USA Video Technology’s patent for store-and-forward technology.

USA Video Technology said that it is seeking “fair compensation” for the use of its patents as well as a court injunction that would stop further infringement upon its patent.

According to an analysis by Steven Donohue, who writes for MultiChannel.com, a site that covers the cable industry, the suit is unusual insofar as it names distributors as the defendants, whereas most patent suits in the industry typically name rival technology providers.

USA Video Technology filed suit against Movielink — a VOD service owned by five major mainstream studios — in 2003 alleging infringement of the same patent. The company recently lost its case against Movielink.

USA Video Technology is a subsidiary of USA Video Interactive. According to a company press release, the parent company holds patents for the same technology in seven countries.

USA Video Technology applied for the patent in 1990. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued the patent — U.S. Patent No. 5,130,792 — in 1992.

None of the cable operators named in the suit would comment on the merits of the case.