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.

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