A complex legal battle involving Microsoft and TiVo could affect the future of digital video recorders (DVRs).
At the heart of the dispute are the patented components that display programmable information and a secure method for buying and delivering video programmes.
TiVo, available here in conjunction with Telecom Broadband, uses portions of two Microsoft patents in its products or components, including set-top box products, subscription services and software without a licence, according to a lawsuit filed by Microsoft in the US.
Microsoft seeks to restrain TiVo from using the patented components without permission, plus unspecified damages.
One Microsoft product concerned is called Mediaroom, a software program that runs on television set-top boxes that lets people view photos and play music stored on their personal computers and makes it easier to get Web content through the television.
TiVo is itself involved in legal action against telco AT&T and US ISP Verizon over patents in TiVo’s DVR technology. Microsoft has declared an interest in this legal action, claiming Mediaroom is a component in that part of TiVo.
The dispute involves not only millions of dollars, but the right to use technology which is key to modern digital video recorders, which everyone will have to own in a few years in order to record programmes from digital television.