Feeds

Virgin Media smites TV software patents

Rovi loses in High Court

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

A little-reported High Court decision last week has reaffirmed the difficulty of defending software programs.

Virgin Media was sued by Gemstar, now owned by Rovi, for breaching user interface intellectual property it had successfully licensed to other TV operators. Last week the Court sided with Virgin, declaring the patents invalid. One in particular, EP (UK) 1377049, was a computer program and could not be protected, the Judge ruled.

Patent EP0969662 describes a TV listing in grid form, which the Judge said was not a technical effect', while EP1613066 describes an option for recording shows from the EPG. Patent '49 was filed in the pre-Tron era of user interfaces (1991) and describes:

Screen (10) for a user interface of a television schedule system and process consists of an array (24) of irregular cells (26), which vary in length, corresponding to different program lengths of one half to one-and-one half hours or more. Because of the widely varying length of the cells (26), if a conventional cursor used to select a cell location were to simply step from one cell to another, the result would be abrupt changed in the screen (10). By restricting cursor movements to the regular cells, abrupt screen changes will be avoided. A conventional offset shadow (34) which is a black bar underlines the entire cell and wraps around the right edge of the cell. To tag the underlying position which defines where the cursor (32) is and thus, where it will move next portions (36) of the black bar outside the current underlying position are segmented, while the current position is painted solid

According to Broadcast TV News, Justice Mann wasn't impressed.

"The patent describes a computer taking some information, getting some input from the user, and then giving the user the information he wants. No more than that." What a refreshing perspective.

Rovi says it will appeal the decision. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
Red Hat to ship RHEL 7 release candidate with a taste of container tech
Grab 'near-final' version of next Enterprise Linux next week
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.