Rovi Sues Hulu for Patent Infringement

Hulu can’t seem to catch a break lately. First, Hulu’s owners put the streaming website up for sale, and then Fox announced that it will start charging for what once was free broadcast on Hulu’s website. Now the company is getting sued for patent infringement by programming guide vendor Rovi.

The recently filed lawsuit deals with three patents regarding online TV program guides and search products. Rovi seeks unspecified damages and attorney fees for the alleged infringement. Rovi claims that they met with Hulu in August 2008 to initiate licensing discussion, but Hulu passed, and Rovi sued.

This is not the first round Rovi has played in the game of patent lawsuits, and it won’t be the last. Late last year, the company filed suit against Toshiba over three program guide patents. Rovi is currently in dispute with Amazon over its IMDb property and five program guide patents. More patent lawsuits are expected as Rovi claims more than 1,100 patents related to program guides.

Hulu representatives have not commented on the proceedings, but Rovi claims that “Hulu’s infringement presents significant and ongoing damages to Rovi’s business.”

Hulu is currently up for sale. Its list of suitors include Apple, Google, Amazon, and Yahoo.


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