CHICAGO — A Chicago federal judge has granted pay TV services, including Comcast, a reprieve from a patent infringement lawsuit over the companies' use of on-screen channel scrolling guides and menus.
On June 19, Judge Elaine E. Bucklo found that the plaintiff in the case, Technology Development and Licensing LLC, did not prove the companies infringed on its patent.
The patent was to protect a distinct way of selecting and tuning television channels from cable or satellite providers.
The complaint covered a system that allows a user to assign labels to the channels rather than rely on the numbers preassigned by the provider.
The twin patent infringement complaints were first filed in 2008 and 2009. However, both were stayed in 2009 and again in 2014. They were delayed by a reexamination by the Patent and Trademark office.
In 2015, the cases were returned to active status.
Judge Bucklo referred to another similar case, also filed by Technology Development, against Motorola. A summary judgment was granted in that case, which was referenced in the written decision.
That case "established a two-part framework for determining whether patent claims are drawn to patent-eligibility subject matter,” Judge Bucklo wrote in the judgment.
The questions of abstract idea and inventive concept were the focus of Judge Bucklo. The judge found that the patent covered merely an abstract idea - that of a conversion chart on certain channels - and was not an inventive concept.
“I perceive no basis on which to conclude that the limitations requiring a control signal that travels over a multi-channel signal imparts an inventive concept to claims 1 and 2,” Judge Bucklo wrote.
Plaintiffs were represented in the action by attorneys with the firm of Joseph Hosteny LLC, of Chicago.
Comcast was represented by the firm of Keker, Van Nest & Peters LLP, of San Francisco, and Neal & McDevitt, of suburban Northfield.