Gemstar’s chipped

Trade panel rules against patent suit review

Embattled Gemstar-TV Guide Intl. said Friday the U.S. Intl. Trade Commission has declined to review a previous judgment against the company in a patent infringement lawsuit.

It’s another body blow to the Pasadena technology and publishing company. Its stock has collapsed in recent months, and it may be delisted from the Nasdaq market. Investors, and 42% owner News Corp., still await a promised management restructuring that could move chairman Henry Yuen into a non-executive role and boost former Fox exec Jeff Shell to the CEO post.

Gemstar said in a statement it will appeal the ITC decision in federal court.

Earlier blows

In June, an administrative law judge ruled that EchoStar and several manufacturers of set-top boxes did not infringe on three Gemstar patents. Judge Paul Luckern found that Gemstar had misused one of the patents, which he also found to be unenforceable due to Gemstar’s failure to name a co-inventor.

Gemstar has been enormously litigious in protecting its patents. In this cases, the process backfired as the law judge’s ruling and the ITC decision hit during a particularly rocky period for the company, including scrutiny of its accounting practices. Last month, Gemstar was one of the few U.S. companies unable to vouch for the accuracy of its latest financial statements under new SEC regs.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. was forced to take charges of nearly $6 billion in the latest quarter and fiscal year to write down the value of its Gemstar investment. Despite the size of its Gemstar stake, News Corp. has no control of Gemstar management and Yuen has been reluctant to step aside.

A Gemstar spokeswoman wasn’t immediately available to comment.

Gemstar shares fell 2.37% Friday to close at $4.12.

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