ITC investigates Universal Electronics’ patent claim against Roku

Remote control maker Universal Electronics (UEI) said the International Trade Commission has taken up an investigation of its patent infringement claim against Roku.

UEI has accused Roku and some of its smart TV partners including TCL, Hisense and Funai of engaging in unfair trade practices by importing products into the U.S. that infringe on its patents. The company has asked the ITC to issue an exclusion order that would prevent further importation of the allegedly infringing products and a cease and desist Order to bar further sales and other domestic commercial activities.

UEI said it expects that the ITC investigation to continue through 2020 and that the case will be tried in the first quarter of 2021. The company also filed concurrent suits in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

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“To protect our assets, we have amassed over 500 patents that we use in our solutions and license to software and technology manufacturers. When other companies use our technology without permission, we first endeavor to form mutually beneficial business arrangements and it is only when such arrangements cannot be achieved that we take action to vigorously protect our valuable IP,” said UEI CEO Paul Arling in a statement.

The patents in question cover relaying key code signals through remote control devices; systems and methods for accessing a user interface via a secondary device; and systems and methods of optimized appliance control.

UEI said all the patents are part of a portfolio of technology that it licenses to manufacturers, software development companies, private label customers and subscription broadcast providers in the consumer electronics, subscription broadcast, home entertainment, automation, security, hospitality and climate control markets. Licensees of QuickSet include service providers such as Comcast, AT&T and Dish Network Corporation; smart TV manufacturers such as Sony Corporation and Samsung; and game console manufacturers such as Microsoft on the Xbox One.