Expert says Sony Infringed TV Interactive’s Automatic DVD Playback Patents

By Joseph Mandour on March 19, 2013

Property InfringementOrange County – An expert testified in front of a San Francisco jury last Wednesday that Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 3 and at least one of the Blu-ray players it sells infringe on four patents related to DVD-loading technology that are owned by TV Interactive Data Corp.

San Jose, California-based TV Interactive argued in front of U.S. District Judge Joseph C. Spero of the Northern District of California that Sony is using the same technology that its founder, Peter Redford, co-patented between 1997 and 2002.  The technology covered by the patents-in-suit allows DVDs and Blu-rays to start automatically when a DVD is inserted into the device, rather than requiring the user to press play.

Patent consultant and expert witness for TV Interactive Andrew Wolfe testified on Wednesday that after comparing the source code for the software in the PlayStation 3 and the BDP-S500 Blu-ray player to the claims in TV Interactive’s patent, he found that Sony’s devices infringe TV Interactive’s patents for automatic disc play.

Two of the patents-in-suit cover software technology for automatically playing DVDs and Blu-rays the other two refer to the hardware that allow the discs to play automatically.  Wolfe testified that the BDP-S500 infringes all of the claims of the four patents.  He also testified that the PlayStation 3 infringes all of the claims of the hardware patents and infringes the claims of the software patents when used to play DVDs and Blu-rays.

Sony told the San Francisco jury that TV Interactive knew about Sony’s alleged infringing technology in 1996, but strategically chose to wait to file a lawsuit against Sony, which Sony claims is unreasonable and should ban TV Interactive from being able to seek a judgment against it.

“TVI’s documents also confirm that DVD players were considered a target in 1996, but it made a strategic decision to ignore them so that publishers could increase sales targeting DVDs and other optical disc products while TVI tried to increase its ‘clout’ to force its technology into the DVD standard,” Sony said.

Sony also claimed that it is economically prejudiced by TV Interactive’s choice to wait to file the lawsuit.  Sony said that it continued to use the standard automatic playback technologies in its products and had TV Interactive filed the lawsuit sooner, Sony would have developed new technologies rather than continuing to pour money into the disputed technology.

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Posted in: Patent Infringement