Netflix Accused of Infringing on Broadcom’s Video Streaming Patents

Netflix Corporate Headquarters in Los Gatos
John G Mabanglo/EPA/Shutterstock

Broadcom, a leading manufacturer of semiconductor chips for cable set-top boxes, filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Netflix on Friday.

The chipmaker alleges that Netflix has infringed on eight patents dealing with video playback and data transmission. The suit claims that Netflix’s infringement has contributed to the rise of cord-cutting, which has driven down demand for Broadcom’s chips.

“As a direct result of the on-demand streaming services provided by Netflix, the market for traditional cable services that require set top boxes has declined, and continues to decline, thereby substantially reducing Broadcom’s set top box business,” the suit states.

A Netflix spokesperson declined to comment on the suit.

Broadcom says it informed Netflix of the infringement in September 2019, but that Netflix has declined to engage in a negotiation to license Broadcom’s patents.

“Left with no other choice, the Broadcom Entities bring this action to protect their rights and their investment in the research and development of novel technologies,” the suit states.

Broadcom also filed a series of patent suits against manufacturers of smart TVs in 2017.

The following year, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled against Broadcom, finding that two of the defendants, Vizio and Sigma Designs, did not infringe on Broadcom’s patents.

More recently, a jury ordered Broadcom to pay $270.2 million for infringing on patents belonging to Caltech after a trial in January. Apple was also ordered to pay $837.8 million. The jury found that iPhones, iPads and other Apple devices used Broadcom chips that relied on the university’s patented wireless data technology. Broadcom and Apple both said they would appeal the verdict.