Smart TVs & Smart Phones
Today it is hard to imagine a TV without an internet connection and streaming services like Netflix and Hulu pre-installed. However, when Dr. Jonyer joined Google in 2010 to head up Google TV’s global device partnership programs, smart TVs were only getting started. We forged partnerships with Sony, Samsung, LG, Logitech, Sharp, Intel, Marvell, MediaTek, and many other device OEMs, ODMs, and chip makers. While Google TV did not succeed in the market, we pivoted to the wildly successful Chromecast product, an entirely new concept to streaming, using the smartphone as a smart remote control. The partnership strategy also changed from a white-labeled “Google-OS” to a single Google-branded device.
Google TV was built on the Android operating system, and we worked hand-in-hand with the Android team on device specifications, requirements, certification of new partner devices, and co-evolution of the Android operating system. Interestingly, once the ‘cable cutting’ fears died down and the TV ecosystem warmed up to the concept of Smart TVs, the Android team launched Android TV. At the same time, each TV OEM decided to pursue their own operating system, and the Smart TV ecosystem became quite fragmented, each looking to become the next “iPhone” and looking to become smart home hubs.
Smart TVs are a relatively recent technology, and patents related to any given technology are always lagging a few years behind. We also see an interplay between smart TV and smartphone operating systems and related intellectual property. We support litigation with activities such as
- IPR opinions
- Patent infringement investigation
- ITC contentions
- Source code review
Smart TV Patent Infringement
The holder of many universal remote control patents sought to be compensated for the use of its technologies by a smart TV maker. The potentially offending technologies were located across the defendant’s many software components, including the main smart TV operating system, the remote control, the smartphone apps (iPhone and Android), and the device drivers. We analyzed the defendant’s software (in C, C++, Java, Objective C, and Swift) for infringement of 9 different patent families, and drafted expert reports of our findings in both federal and ITC cases.
In this class action case, we were asked to review a popular app store’s source code and reconstruct the way the subscription payment screen looked, or could have looked, in given times in the past. The plaintiffs were seeking relief due to unclear terms and conditions. The source code spanned programming languages like Java and C++, and included many front-end resource files. We provided a structure to the plaintiffs’ arguments rooted in source code.