Following up on an August jury award of nearly $140 million, a federal judge has issued an injunction against Verizon for violating four patents on cloud-based video services owned by ActiveVideo Networks. The injunction will prevent Verizon from offering its current video-on-demand services to its FiOS TV subscribers, but won't go into effect until May 23, 2012, under what is called a "sunset provision."
A sunset provision is often used to give the infringer a limited period of time to phase out its infringing products — with the patent owner still receiving royalties for that period. Sunset provisions can also be used to allow the infringing party time to "work around" the patented technology. The possibility of a Verizon work-around appears to be at the heart of the judge's decision to delay the injunction in this case. Verizon represented to the court that it has been working on a non-infringing version of its FiOS video services since March 2011. Given this, the court believed May 2012 would be enough time for Verizon to get everything designed and implemented. If things go as planned, Verizon should be able to complete its work-around by next May without much of a disruption to its end customers. Only time will tell, however, if ActiveVideo and the court will ultimately find the work-around acceptable.