TiVo says it will receive $215 million, and probably much more, under a settlement with AT&T in their patent dispute over the DVR technology used in AT&T’s U-Verse television service.
That U-Verse system is based on Microsoft’s Mediaroom IPTV technology. Microsoft intervened in the case between AT&T and TiVo two years ago, telling the judge that AT&T, as Microsoft’s customer, was demanding that Microsoft indemnify AT&T against TiVo’s patent claims.
The deal between AT&T and TiVo was announced last night. Microsoft’s role in the settlement, if it has one, isn’t described by TiVo in its news release or regulatory filing, and the court docket doesn’t offer any clues.
Speaking to Bloomberg News last night, a Microsoft spokesman declined to comment on the settlement between AT&T and TiVo. We’ve followed up with Microsoft to ask specifically whether it has a financial obligation to AT&T under the deal.
[Update: Microsoft isn’t commenting on the settlement or the terms of its relationship with AT&T, so it’s not clear if the Redmond company is on the hook for any portion of the settlement. We’ll keep monitoring the court docket to see if it reveals anything.]
A related patent dispute between Microsoft and TiVo is still pending at the International Trade Commission, with initial findings expected in March.
The disputes involve common features for recording and watching television shows, including TiVo’s patent for a “multimedia time warping system” — letting users record and save TV broadcasts at the same time they’re watching other shows. TiVo won a $500 million settlement last year in a dispute with EchoStar and DISH Network involving the same patent.
In the AT&T settlement, TiVo says it will receive a minimum of $215 million “plus incremental monthly fees per DVR subscriber if the growth of AT&T’s subscriber base exceeds certain pre-determined levels,” according to TiVo’s regulatory filing.
The filing adds, “Based on currently available industry forecasts, TiVo expects that the total fees payable to it by AT&T under the Agreement will significantly exceed the guaranteed minimum Payment to TiVo.”