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Microsoft has filed a US trade complaint against TiVo in which it has demanded the company halts the import of television set-top boxes.

In the complaint, which was presented to the US International Trade Commission in Washington yesterday, Microsoft accused TiVo of infringing four patents, Bloomberg reports.

The software giant wants to see TiVo barred from importing digital video recorders, most of which are manufactured in Mexico and then flogged in the US.

Additionally, Microsoft filed the same complaint in a civil lawsuit lodged with the federal court in Seattle.

This isn't the first time Microsoft has hit out at TiVo.

A year ago it sued the leading DV recorder vendor over claims that in displaying programming information, TiVo illegally used technology from Microsoft's Mediaroom, which Redmond just so happens to license to US telecoms giant AT&T for its U-Verse service.

At&T filed a separate suit against the Alviso, California-based TiVo in August 2009, alleging patent infringement.

Microsoft later asked court officials for permission to intervene in that case on AT&T's behalf.

In effect, TiVo sued AT&T, alleging that U-Verse infringed three patents for DV recording. Then step forward Microsoft, which threw a sue ball at TiVo, saying that those patents were actually MS technologies from Mediaroom.

Now, Microsoft is continuing to play hardball with TiVo by grumbling to the ITC.

“We remain open to resolving this situation through an intellectual property licensing agreement, and we look forward to continued negotiations with TiVo,” Microsoft wonk Kevin Kutz told Bloomberg.

TiVo declined to comment on Microsoft's latest legal complaint. ®

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