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Virgin Media Prevails In Rovi Patent Lawsuit

A British appeals court affirmed Tuesday that cable operator Virgin Media did not infringe interactive program guide patents owned by Rovi, upholding a lower court's decision that the patents were invalid.

In January 2008, Gemstar-TV Guide International -- now part of Rovi -- sued Virgin Media for patent infringement. A U.K. court in November 2009 ruled that the three IPG patents owned by Rovi at issue in the suit were invalid. Rovi had appealed that ruling.

Virgin Media general counsel Scott Dresser said in a statement: "Today's judgment comprehensively dismisses Gemstar's claim, confirming their patents are not valid and bringing an end to over three years of legal dispute. We have vigorously defended our assertion that Gemstar's claim was unfounded and that they should not have brought this case and the Court agrees emphatically."

In a statement, Rovi spokeswoman Linda Quach said, "We're disappointed but not surprised by the Court's decision. Rovi has an extensive portfolio of other patents besides the ones asserted in the Virgin litigation and we intend to continue to protect our investments in our intellectual property."

Rovi, based in Santa Clara, Calif., claims it has nearly 5,000 patents issued or pending worldwide. Virgin Media is the biggest cable operator in the U.K., with 4.29 million broadband and 3.78 million TV subscribers as of the end of 2010.