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Gemstar defeated over TV patents

James Nurton, London

A judge in London’s Patents Court has invalidated three European patents owned by Gemstar, in a decision that could have wide-ranging implications for TV companies that use electronic programming guides (EPGs)

In a decision on November 26, Mr Justice Mann found the patents invalid on various grounds after Gemstar asserted them against cable TV company Virgin Media.

Gemstar, which has licensed its patents widely in the media industry, sued Virgin in January 2008 and the case was heard over four weeks in June and July this year.

Two of the three patents were found to consist of unpatentable subject matter, in line with previous UK court cases on computer-implemented inventions, such as those involving Macrossan, Aerotel and Symbian.

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