Roku Alleges Patent Infringement Against Universal Electronics Over Remote Controls

On Thursday, Roku Inc., the “pioneer of the streaming TV,” filed a complaint in the Central District of California against Universal Electronics Inc. and other entities (collectively, UEI) alleging that the defendants’ remote controls infringed two Roku patents.

The patents-in-suit are United States Patent Nos. 8,378,875 (the ’875 patent) and 7,388,511 (the ’511 patent), each entitled “Method of Programming a Universal Remote Control” and “System for Remote Control of Identical Devices,” respectively.

UEI allegedly infringed at least claims 1-5, 8-11, and 14 of the ’875 patent via its devices “that perform the claimed setup method.” According to one of the claim charts, UEI infringed claim 1 of patent ’875, which states: “(a) method for setting up a Remote Control that includes a keyboard, a processor, a memory, and a transmitter, the method comprising the steps of: entering, via the keyboard and processor, a configuration mode; accepting, via the keyboard and processor, an identifier entry; and scanning, via the processor and memory, through remote control code-sets in a database stored in the memory of the remote control.”

Specifically, Roku alleged that UEI’s remote control, the Streamer Remote URC 7935, includes the aforementioned components as shown in the claim chart depictions. Reportedly, “during the setup process, holding down a key on the keyboard causes the processor to retrieve codes stored in a remote control memory and transmit function signals via an IR transmitter.” The plaintiff claimed that on UEI’s remote, “when the ‘TV Power’ and ‘BACK’ keys on the keyboard are held down, the remote control enters a configuration mode for controlling a TV,” as described in the patent.

Moreover, as noted in the patent, the allegedly infringing product “accepts keyboard entries that are identifier-entries. For example, to set up the remote control to control a Samsung TV, a ‘Replay’ button entry is accepted as an identifier-entry.” Meanwhile, for a Zenith TV, “a 5 digit code entry is accepted as an identifier-entry.” Additionally, the remote control purportedly “scans code-sets in its database stored in the remote control’s memory via the processor and memory scans.” Roku provided additional examples of UEI’s remote control’s alleged infringement in its filing.

The plaintiff alleged direct, induced, and contributory infringement of its patents against UEI.

Roku seeks declaratory judgment in its favor; an award for damages, UEI’s profits, costs, and fees; a permanent injunction; pre- and post-judgment interest; and other relief.

Roku is represented by Dickinson Wright PLLC.