DVR maker TiVo has sued Samsung for patent infringement, alleging that Samsung’s digital video recorders violate four of TiVo’s patents. The announcement came as part of Tivo’s Q2 2015 earnings report, which saw the company generate close to $120 million in net revenue, compared to around $112 million during the same quarter last year.
This isn’t the first time TiVo has sued competitors over DVR-related patents: The company has quite a litigious history, and in the past filed lawsuits against EchoStar/Dish, AT&T, Verizon, Motorola and Cisco. Basically, if a company makes a digital video recorder and has enough cash on hand, there’s a good chance that TiVo has filed a lawsuit against it at some point.
These patent infringement lawsuits have been good business for TiVo, resulting in settlements totaling more than $1.6 billion total in favor of the company. However, the spigot of settlement money could eventually dry up — some of the patents that have helped TiVo win large settlements in the past will expire in 2018.
That’s why the lawsuit against Samsung is as much a signal to investors as an attempt to make more money with patents: TiVo is basing its claims on Samsung in part on two newer patents with a longer shelf life. “Today’s action should help address one of the questions regarding the value, breadth and applicability of TiVo’s IP portfolio,” said TiVo president and CEO Tom Rogers in a statement.
All of this happens as TiVo continues to gain traction with pay TV operators while it struggles to grow its consumer business. TiVo now has more than 5 million consumers who rent the company’s DVR through their pay TV operator, and fewer than 1 million customers who have bought the device in a store.
TiVo is expected to make another push for the retail business with a revamped DVR dubbed the “Bolt” in the coming months.