Television

Scientific-Atlanta wins another round in patent rights battle with Gemstar

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ATLANTA (Georgia): Cable television set-top box maker Scientific-Atlanta announced on Monday that it won another round in its legal battle with the Rupert Murdoch-controlled Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. over patented innovations related to television on-screen programming guides.

The latest judgment by a Georgia federal court ruled that Scientific-Atlanta's Explorer(r) 3000 and 8600x set-top boxes did not infringe any claims of US patent numbers 5,508,815 and 5,568,272. The Court had previously ruled in favor of Scientific-Atlanta regarding the same two patents and Scientific-Atlanta's Explorer 2000 set-tops. There are additional Gemstar and Scientific-Atlanta patents at issue in the Georgia court.

Gemstar said last week it would restate 2 1/2 years of financial results, including removing $113 million it booked as revenue in anticipation of winning the dispute with Scientific-Atlanta. The US Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the company's accounting.

Gemstar CEO Henry Yuen resigned last month after an accounting review by the board's audit committee, and last week the company fired its accounting firm, KPMG LLP.

Gemstar holds more than 190 patents for the software used to run menus that help TV viewers pick shows, and it has sued customers and rivals to enforce the rights. As satellite and digital cable have expanded viewers' choices to hundreds of channels, on-screen program guides have become more important to consumers.

News Corp. owns a 42 percent stake in Gemstar, which earns more from its TV Guide magazine than it does from on-screen listings.

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