Apple is not saying whether they will start removing applications from their App Store, after Google issued a warning to 42 global TV stations including Foxtel and Ice TV in Australia that they were in breach of US patents by using the words ‘TV Guide.’Google has already stripped the Ice TV app from their Marketplace store but are not saying why they have not shut down the Foxtel application.
Last month, Google in the USA were told by TV Guide, which is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment that up to 42 TV companies from around the world who had apps for download from the Google Marketplace were in breach of a Rovi US patent relating to the use of the phrase ‘TV Guide.’
SmartHouse has been told that Apple was advised at the same time as Google, and that several TV companies including Foxtel – which is part owned by News Corporation – were using iPhone and iPad apps containing the words “TV Guide” which, according to TV Guide lawyers, were deceiving consumers as to the origin and sponsorship of their TV program listing service used in both Google Android and Apple applications.
Ice TV, a small Australian company, has already moved to take legal action after their Ice TV program guide was stripped from the Google Marketplace store without consultation, when the Foxtel application remained in place despite the same Rovi letter being sent to both Foxtel and Ice TV.
Letters obtained by SmartHouse that were sent by Ethan Tyer, Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs at TV Guide in the USA, to 42 TV stations, claim that the TV companies are acting illegally by using the name TV Guide. (See full letters to all 42 TV Stations as PDF Below). Copies of the same letter were sent to Apple.
Colin O Brien, the CEO of Ice TV in Sydney, claims that his company is being discriminated against by Google.
Lawyers for TV Guide claim that both Foxtel and Ice TV are violating both US State and Federal laws by using the name TV Guide.
According to the letter, TV Guide has demanded that Google immediately terminate the Android application and the use of YP5 software which is used to develop the application.
O Brien, who won a landmark TV program guide copyright case up against Channel Nine last year in the Australian High Court, believes that Google should not have pulled his application down as the phrase ‘TV Guide’ is a generic phrase and if a patent or copyright case was bought in Australia by Rovi, they would not win their case under Australian “or even British copyright law.”
“Our Apple and Android apps are not being served in the USA. The content information we deliver has no bearing in the USA and Google should have recognised this before they took our application down” said O Brien.
“TV Guide are idiots because someone like a Foxtel will take them to the Supreme Court in the USA and they will lose because the words TV Guide were being used by various parties prior to Rovi registering the name. Newspapers have been publishing TV Guides ever since the first TV appeared.”
A spokesperson for Apple said they were not in a position to comment.
We are still waiting for a response from Google.