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SONICblue Sues Rival TiVo

SONICblue Inc. yesterday made good on its threat to sue rival personal video
recorder maker TiVo Inc. for patent infringment.

In an action filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif., SONICblue
claims that TiVo's PVR system infringes on its patented ReplayTV technology.

SONICblue, which acquired ReplayTV Inc. and its DVR technology earlier this
year, was recently awarded a broad patent that covers how the devices let
customers find, select and record programming.

The company announced earlier this week that it was in licensing discussions
with rival TiVo, but TiVo executives claimed that report was untrue.

SONICblue seeks unspecified monetary damages and a permanent injunction
prohibiting TiVo from using the technology without negotiating a licensing

TiVo, in turn, announced it had landed additional patents to cover such
digital recording functions as pausing, fast-forwarding and playback and the
networking of multiple streaming-media devices in the home.

SONICblue is also on the receiving end of a lawsuit filed earlier this year
by a coalition of major TV network owners, including CBS, NBC, Viacom Inc. and
Disney Enterprises Inc.

The coalition charges that the company's latest line of DVRs, the ReplayTV
4000, will erode advertising-dependent businesses because they can automatically
skip commercials while recording.

The group also claims copyright violations, because the 4000 series can make
perfect digital copies and send them via the Web to other users, according to
the suit.