Gemstar-TV Guide International, Inc has announced that it has initiated patent litigation proceedings against Virgin Media in the English High Court.

In the complaint, Gemstar alleges that the Virgin Media companies infringe three of Gemstar's European patents: EP (UK) 0 969 662, EP (UK) 1 377 049, and EP (UK) 1 613 066, including claims directed to techniques for providing certain interactive program guides (what we'd refer to as EPGs), and for handling recordings from IPG/EPGs.

Gemstar-TV Guide claim to have one of the "world's most extensive patent portfolios" regarding IPGs, including over 200 issued patents and pending applications covering the United Kingdom.

"We have worked diligently to license Virgin Media for their distribution of various set-top boxes that contain IPGs covered by our patents, but negotiations did not lead to a resolution", said Samir Armaly, executive vice president, intellectual property and licensing, Gemstar-TV Guide.

"The substantial value of our European patent portfolio has been recognized by leading service providers as well as leading consumer electronics manufacturers in the UK and throughout Europe."

"While we would have preferred to reach a commercial solution with Virgin Media, we ultimately have a responsibility to our shareholders, licensees, and other stakeholders to protect the value of our intellectual property."