Professor Gregory Dolin contributed an op-ed to The Washington Times, “The Comcast-TiVo dispute isn’t close enough for instant replay” (Aug. 17, 2017), about a TiVo-Comcast dispute and the federal government’s role in making sure intellectual property rights are enforced.
Comcast has refused to pay for a license to use TiVo’s technology, though the giant cable provider still uses that technology in Comcast cable boxes imported from abroad.
In response, TiVo brought a complaint to the International Trade Commission, which ruled that TiVo’s patents are valid and have been infringed by Comcast’s actions. Nevertheless, Dolin writes, Comcast maintains it should be allowed to keep importing the cable boxes, saying a ban on their importation would be against the public interest.
“This is exactly backwards,” Dolin writes. “The public benefits when it has access to a variety of technology at low prices. In Comcast’s view, though, it doesn’t matter how the public gets such access. On that view, whether the choices are provided through many people innovating and bringing their own wares to market, or whether they are the result of copying, it’s all the same. But that simply isn’t so.”
Dolin is associate director of UB’s Center for the Law of Intellectual Property and Technology and co-director of the law school’s Center for Medicine and Law.