Embattled set-top box technology developer NDS Group Plc, which is currently at the center of a number of civil lawsuits and a Federal investigation, has launched a series of counter lawsuits, as Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp empire brings its vast legal muscle into action.
London, UK-based NDS is counter-suing DirecTV Enterprises LLC and two of its subsidiaries, as well as a chip manufacturer and the manufacturer’s North American sales affiliate. NDS’s countersuit alleges that DirecTV and the chip manufacturer misappropriated NDS’s trade secrets and proprietary information, conspired to infringe NDS’s patents, colluded to create unfair competition, and breached agreements and licenses restricting the use of NDS’s intellectual property. The move has all the hallmarks of a tit-for-tat action aimed at forcing a quick settlement.
The DirecTV network in the US is reportedly one of a number victims of NDS’s resident hacker, Christopher Tarnovsky, AKA The Big Gun, whose alleged hacking activities began the civil lawsuits and Federal probe. DirecTV was one of those suing NDS, and was planning on dropping NDS as a supplier.
NDS is also being sued by rivals Canal Plus Technologies and EchoStar Communications Corp, over this hacking claim. Canal Plus alone is claiming more than $1 billion in damages, but has agreed to suspend proceedings pending the closure of a merger between two Italian satellite TV broadcasters owned by their parent companies.