Hulu Lawsuit Targets TiVo

Hulu has filed a lawsuit in California against TiVo that asks the court to find that Hulu isn’t required to renew an expired licensing deal because three TiVo patents asserted against Hulu in an earlier case have either expired, are no longer valid, or are linked to a service that Hulu no longer offers.

According to a redacted copy of the filing, obtained by Multichannel News and filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on May 23, Hulu is requesting a judgment that it does not infringe any claim of Patent No. 7,769,775, which describes a “Search engine for video and graphics with access authorization” and was granted in 2010.

The idea behind the patent is to aid searching across websites for graphic and video content and is mostly relatable to tech needs “in the late 1990s.” Additionally, the patent, as Hulu views it in the court filing, aimed to help internet search engines at the time determine whether graphic or video files require authorization to access them or if they are not saddled with access restrictions.

Hulu, which recently launched a beta version of a new live TV service, argued that its current product offering, which includes ad-free and ad-supported versions of an SVOD service, is “completely different from the system and method claimed by the ’775 Patent,” as Hulu does not need to search the internet for videos, as its system now obtains the requisite input/metadata directly from content providers. Hulu also holds that its system is also free of the ‘775 patent because it’s not possible to use Hulu services without authorization, such as a subscription.

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