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Intellectual property agreement gives Netflix access to TiVo’s patent portfolios

TiVo is extending its partnership with streaming TV service Netflix through a licensing agreement that will see the two companies pair up in new ways.

On the product end, TiVo set-top box owners will be able to continue to access Netflix directly through the devices. This will allow subscribers to enjoy unified search across the entire content catalog. Most significantly, they can now also access Netflix through a dedicated button on the TiVo remote.

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Further, a new intellectual property agreement gives Netflix the opportunity to license TiVo’s patent portfolios, as well as patents for over-the-top (OTT) offerings, which are held by Intellectual Ventures.

TiVo’s new parent company Rovi, which acquired the firm this year for $1.1 billion, had previously filed suit against Netlix for allegedly infringing on five of its patents — a suit that Netflix eventually won. This new agreement would give Netflix access to TiVo and Rovi’s more than 6,000 patents and pending applications for use in its streaming service. The patents relate to DVR and interactive program guide functions.

Bill Holmes, global head of business development at Netflix, says the agreement will help provide “an integrated experience across more devices.”

Tom Carson, CEO of TiVo, deems the new agreement a “major milestone” for the company as it expands its offerings in the OTT space.

Netflix currently has more than 86 million members in over 190 countries. TiVo offers its intuitive interactive program guide, as well as its own DVRs.

Earlier this month, TiVo entered into an intellectual property agreement with Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. that provides certain rights under TiVo’s patent portfolios for Samsung’s line of mobile, consumer electronics, and set-top box businesses. The deal followed ongoing litigation between the two. And at the end of October, TiVo renewed its product and intellectual property licenses with Panasonic.