Well, it’s a little more complicated than that. Microsoft’s stake in the litigation isn’t just for AT&T’s honor. It’s also, quite possibly, for the potential damages AT&T faces in the TiVo case.
Here’s why. Last spring, TiVo sued both AT&T and Verizon in federal district court in Marshall, Texas, accusing them in separate suits of infringing three TiVo patents in their television playback services. AT&T’s service, U-Verse, relies on Microsoft’s Mediaroom software. On January 15, Microsoft moved to intervene in TiVo’s suit against AT&T. Microsoft’s complaint in intervention, which seeks a declaratory judgment of non-infringement, simply argues that the software giant has an interest in the litigation because TiVo’s allegations involve a Microsoft product.
But Microsoft’s brief in support of its motion has a very interesting additional piece of information: AT&T’s lawyers at Baker Botts, the motion says, have demanded indemnification from Microsoft in the TiVo case. Microsoft senior attorney Stacy Quan submitted an affidavit attesting that AT&T wants Microsoft to back it against “the allegations and claims of patent infringement by TiVo Inc. directed to U-verse products and/or services.”
TiVo general counsel Matthew Zinn told the Litigation Daily that it seems clear the new Microsoft suit against TiVo “appears to be related to the AT&T situation….They’re defending their customer.” Noting that Microsoft told Bloomberg it’s “open to resolving this situation through an intellectual property licensing agreement,” Zinn said, “It’s fair to assume [the new suit] is part of the same strategy.”
Microsoft is represented in both the AT&T intervention and the new suit against TiVo by Chad Campbell and Lauren Sliger of Perkins Coie. Campbell didn’t return our call for comment.
TiVo is represented in the AT&T case by Irell & Manella; Irell’s Morgan Chu told us that he will defend TiVo in the new Microsoft suit as well. TiVo is using Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi in the Verizon suit.