RealTime IT News

OpenTV, Liberate Suit Gets Slimmer

Interactive telelvision specialist OpenTV late Thursday secured two motions for summary judgment in its patent litigation with rival Liberate Technologies from a district court.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California tossed out Liberate's claim that OpenTV induced infringement of a Liberate patent. The court also dismissed Liberate's defense to OpenTV's claims of patent infringement, in which Liberate argued that OpenTV was precluded from asserting infringement of OpenTV patents by virtue of its alleged participation in an industry standards body with compulsory licensing obligations.

A summary judgment is a ruling in which the judge decides that there are no factual issues associated with a claim, meaning a dispute can be decided without a trial.

Mountain View, Calif.'s OpenTV did not have its way on all fronts, however, as the court refused OpenTV's other motion for summary judgment of non-infringement of Liberate's U.S. Patent No. 5,991,799, because the court wants to complete claim proceedings. OpenTV may refile its motion following claim construction.

OpenTV touched off the legal war on Feb. 7 2002, alleging San Carlos, Calif.'s Liberate infringed on two of its patents for delivering interactive TV content to set-top boxes. Liberate filed counterclaims in March, claiming OpenTV had infringed four patents owned by Liberate. In May 2002, Liberate removed two of its patents from suit.

With the summary judgment ruling of OpenTV's non-infringement for the U.S. patent number 5,014,125, only Liberate's counterclaim with respect to U.S. Patent No. 5,991,799 remains in the suit.

OpenTV said claim construction proceedings will likely be scheduled at an scheduling conference on Jan. 30.