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Pioneer Digital Sues Gemstar-TV Guide

November 21, 2000|Bloomberg News

A unit of Pioneer Corp. that sells TV cable boxes has sued Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc., claiming that the largest seller of TV-guide software is competing unfairly. Pioneer Digital Technologies alleges that Gemstar is violating California law by "systematically eliminating competition and entering into agreements with others to restrain trade" in the market for TV programming technology. The suit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, also names Gemstar subsidiaries StarSight Telecast Inc. and Gemstar Development as defendants. Pasadena-based Gemstar has about 8.5 million customers using its program guides, which let cable- and satellite-TV viewers find the programs they want. A Gemstar representative was not immediately available to comment. Pioneer Digital claims Gemstar has hurt competition by acquiring competitors and suing other rivals. Gemstar sued Burbank-based Pioneer in 1998, alleging the company infringes a Gemstar patent by selling boxes used for cable television. Gemstar last month settled a lawsuit against Motorola Inc., the No. 1 maker of cable-TV set-top boxes. Motorola will pay about $200 million in future licensing fees, and the companies will work together to develop new products. Shares of Gemstar fell $3.13 to close at $50.88 on Nasdaq.

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