The manufacturer of the VCR Plus video recording device has sued a competitor for violating antitrust law by forcing manufacturers to use its program selection system if they want to license another cable box patent.

Gemstar Development Corp., in a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, claimed that Starsight Telecast Inc. was using an illegal “tying arrangement” linking the two technologies and also improperly requiring manufacturers to produce specific amounts of product.

Gemstar wants unspecified damages and a declaration that Starsight’s patents are unenforceable.

Starsight allegedly has threatened litigation to enforce its patents, which Gemstar calls invalid.

The program selection devices allow users to tape programs on more than one cable channel.

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