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ViXS Complaint Targets Entropic

ViXS has targeted rival chipmaker Entropic Communications and several of its customers in the form of a complaint filed at the U.S. International Trade Commission alleging that they have engaged in unfair trade practices by using certain set-tops, gateways and other devices that, ViXS claims, infringe on a batch of asserted patents.

Toronto-based ViXS said the complaint seeks to stop the importation into the U.S. and sale after importation of products that use Entropic’s Multimedia over Coax (MoCA) silicon or its systems-on-chip (SoCs).

A complete copy of the ITC complaint was not immediately available, but ViXS said in release that the complaint “lists several DirecTV STBs that include Entropic MoCA chips.”

MoCA, popular in whole-home DVR products, is used by several pay-TV operators and set-top and gateway vendors to distribute content securely over the home's coax network using IP. Entropic cut its teeth on MoCA, and ViXS now competes in that market with MoCA 1.1 and 2.0 silicon under the XConnex brand for use in set-tops, Ethernet-over-coax bridges and media gateways.

ViXS is asserting four U.S. patents in its ITC complaint:

  • No. 7,301,900: “Method and apparatus for hub-based network access via a multimedia system;”
  • No. 7,099,951: “Method and apparatus for multimedia system;”
  • No. 7,200,855: “Method and apparatus of multiplexing a plurality of channels in a multimedia system;” and,
  • No. 7,406,598: “Method and system for secure content distribution.”  

ViXS said it also intends to seek damages in federal court through a separate filing.  

“We do not comment on ongoing litigation,” Entropic said, in a statement. DirecTV has been asked to comment on the complaint.

ViXS’s ITC filing comes almost a year after Entropic filed a patent infringement lawsuit in a California district court alleging that ViXS is infringing two of Entropic’s “core home networking patents.” 

ViXS has filed counterclaims in that case, alleging breach of contract, interference with business relations, and unfair competition. “These counterclaims were based in part on Entropic's filing of its San Diego suit while ViXS was in the midst of an initial public offering,” said ViXS, which announced its intentions to go public last April.  

On Tuesday (April 15), ViXS posted a fiscal fourth quarter net loss of $6.7 million on revenues of $7 million. For the full fiscal year, it pulled in revenues of $30.4 million on a comprehensive loss of $32.6 million, or $1.01 per share.