Starsight Telecast, Inc. & Rovi Guides, Inc. vs. Ziggo B.V., District Court of Te Hague, The Netherlands, 19 December 2012, Case No. 421028
EP 0.880.856 (EP ‘856) relates to systems and methods for providing television schedule information. Ziggo markets an application enabling a user to receive television schedule information on a mobile device. Rovi et al. (inter alia) claim an injunction based on EP ‘856. In the counterclaim proceedings, Ziggo sought revocation of Starsight’s patent and among others raised inventive step objections. According to Ziggo, well-known web browsers like Microsoft Internet Explorer 2.0 rendered the patent obvious. Rovi c.s. contended that web browsers do not "search" in the sense of the invention.
Accordingly, in assessing inventive step of the patent, the Court first had to interpret the claim comprising the "search" feature. The Court found that the skilled person would take from the description that it is the user who performs search operations and not the web browser itself. The features that distinguished the claim over the prior art were therefore "interactive television schedule" and the storage of "television schedule information" in different memories. Despite Rovi’s arguments that web browsers process multiple types of information - not just television schedules - as a result of which users would have to search for specific information, the Court held that the patent lacks inventive step over the web browser in combination with the publicly available online Australian TV Guide. The patent is revoked and as a consequence Rovi’s infringement claims are rejected and Rovi is ordered to pay costs.
Read the judgment (in Dutch) here.
Head note: András Kupecz