Netflix One of the businesses of the multifaceted Rovi Corporation is the creation of “interactive program guides,” like the ones you might see on the DVR that comes with your cable or satellite service. Cable companies like Comcast buy Rovi’s online guide services.

There are other video-on-demand companies that don’t want to use Rovi’s guide services, but Rovi wants them to pay up anyway.

The company believes the trove of patents it has acquired over the years mean it owns rights to a wide array of what are essentially online television guides. Beginning in 2010, the company started suing TV manufacturers, saying that its program guides infringed on various Rovi patents. Rovi even sued pure software companies. In 2011, it filed a lawsuit against Amazon-owned IMDb and another one against Hulu. Rovi accused Netflix as well, and that dispute was in court by the end of the year. Rovi is a rare breed: a large operating company that also has an aggressive patent litigation campaign. Last year, Rovi had $651 million in revenue. Because of the way it reports its business segments, it’s unclear how much of that comes from patent licenses. 1     

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