Gemstar has filed a claim at the High Court in London alleging the breach of three of its European patents by Virgin Media. In a statement, Gemstar-TV Guide said the patents referred to interactive programme guides and for handling recordings, suggesting the dispute centres around the V+ personal video recorder.
“We have worked diligently to license Virgin Media for their distribution of various set-top boxes that contain IPGs covered by our patents, but negotiations did not lead to a resolution, said Samir Armaly, executive vice president, intellectual property and licensing, Gemstar-TV Guide. “The substantial value of our European patent portfolio has been recognised by leading service providers as well as leading consumer electronics manufacturers in the UK and throughout Europe.” He said that although the company would have preferred to reach a commercial solution it ultimately had a responsibility to its shareholders.
Virgin is vigorously defending the action: “We are confident the courts will see Gemstar’s action for what it is: a piece of flagrant opportunism. We have been advised by our external counsel that the case is without merit,” said a company spokesman.
Gemstar holds a number of patents centred on the technology and display of electronic programme guides and vigorously defends its position.