To limit the definition of intellectual property to works or creations of the mind overlooks the all-important (and as some might say, more important) component of control. Companies in Houston need to have control of their IP to enjoy both the leverage and the freedom that it provides. An IP owner is free to use it however they please, and to use its position as owner to leverage agreements between other organizations who would like to benefit from it. It is for this reason why one sees companies being willing to battle so hard over the use of their IP.
The ongoing court battle between TiVo and Comcast serves to illustrate this point. Several major television programming providers license TiVo technology in order to incorporate its use in to their boxes. However, recent years have seen Comcast battle over the use of that IP ever since their royalty license ended in 2016. TiVo has filed to place import bans on Comcast boxes based on patented technology. One such petition was recently approved by the U.S. International Trade Commission, with that approval subsequently being upheld in federal court. Two other cases involving TiVo patented technology in Comcast boxes are currently pending. Comcast has actually begun to remove features that it offers to customers that are based on TiVo technology.
The complexities of cases such as this demonstrate just how complicated cases involving IP can be. While it is in a business’ best interest to have a firm handle on what protections are afforded to its IP, executives may do well to enlist the services of an experienced attorney to help offer guidance and clarity when disputes arise.