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Roku Dismisses ITC Ban, Says Patent Ruling Won't Hamper Its Ability to Import Gadgets From China

Roku Streaming Stick 4K+
(Image credit: Roku)

Roku has dismissed a declaration made earlier in the week by Universal Electronics, in which the remote control maker said a recent ruling in a patent dispute will keep the streaming company and its technology partners from importing Roku-enabled smart TVs, streaming sticks and other gadgets from China and other factories abroad. 

In fact, a Roku rep told Next TV that the U.S. International Trade Commission ruling is weeks old. "The only thing new about it is the press release," the rep said. 

Meanwhile, Joe Hollinger, Roku's VP of litigation and intellectual property, released this statement: “There have been no new developments in this case. On November 10, 2021, the ITC’s Final Determination fully absolved Roku from liability in this proceeding by confirming the Administrative Law Judge’s Initial Determination findings that two of the three patents asserted by UEI are invalid and that Roku has already successfully implemented technical design changes that eliminate any infringement of the one remaining UEI patent. Based on the ITC’s ruling, we do not anticipate any disruption in Roku’s ability to continue to import products.”

Santa Ana, Calif.-based Universal Electronics, which makes remote controls for pay TV and streaming companies, among other clients, filed a complaint last year with the ITC, alleging that Roku violates several of its technology patents. 

On Wednesday, Universal released a statement, declaring that an ITC ruling means that Roku will now have to check with U.S. Customs before it or its gadget partners import devices in order to ensure they're not violating the patents in question. 

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!