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Old 02-14-2012, 04:31 PM   #1
rwtomkins
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Claiming against TiVo Inc for terminating the UK lifetime service

This is a new thread about my continuing efforts to bring a claim against TiVo Inc for terminating the guaranteed lifetime TiVo service purchased by UK lifetime subscribers. It picks up from where this thread left off:

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...d.php?t=469325

There's now been another development. I've at last been able to serve the claim upon TiVo Inc at its US headquarters in Alviso, California. I'm now awaiting TiVo Inc's response to the serving of the claim. The court in London has given TiVo Inc until 23 February 2012 to acknowledge service and until 8 March 2012 to file a defence.

The story so far:

1. When TiVo terminated the UK TiVo Service last summer, I filed a small claim against TiVo Inc's dormant UK subsidiary, TiVo (UK) Ltd. That claim came to court last October. The court ruled that the claim should be struck out because I'd been unable to provide convincing evidence that my contract was with TiVo (UK) Ltd and not TiVo Inc.

2. Immediately after leaving the courtroom I brought a small claim against TiVo Inc using the same UK address as that of its UK subsidiary, TiVo (UK) Ltd. After objections from TiVo Inc on the grounds that the claim had not been properly served, on 6 December 2011 a different London court ruled (without a hearing) that the claim would have to be served on TiVo Inc's US address.

3. Immediately after this ruling I wrote to the court asking whether this meant I had permission to serve the defendant outside the jurisdiction.

4. After a wait of several weeks, the court ruled on 16 January that I had permission to amend the claim form to show the defendant's US address but that I would have to apply to the court for permission to serve the defendant out of the jurisdiction.

5. I immediately applied to the court for permission to serve the defendant out of the jurisdiction.

6. On 3 February I received an order from the court giving me leave to serve the defendant out of the jurisdiction. On the same day I dispatched the necessary papers to a firm of process servers in California in order to have the claim served upon TiVo Inc.

7. The process servers successfully served the claim on 10 February.
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Old 02-14-2012, 05:17 PM   #2
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Make 'em squeal.
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Old 02-14-2012, 05:19 PM   #3
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Sounds like you're becoming an expert on this stuff!
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Old 02-15-2012, 01:04 AM   #4
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Sounds like this has already got quite expensive.
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Old 02-15-2012, 04:04 PM   #5
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Make 'em squeal.
Well, groan, at least.

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Sounds like you're becoming an expert on this stuff!
It's quite interesting when you get into it. Maybe I'll become a lawyer.

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Sounds like this has already got quite expensive.
No, not at all. The court made no charge for any of the recent steps described above, although it could have done. The California process server cost $55 which is only £35 and I would expect to recoup that in costs anyway. Even if not, it's a very modest outlay.
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Old 02-18-2012, 04:12 AM   #6
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TiVo USA might just be starting to regret the idiot specifics of the course of action they took. Probably would have cost them a fraction of their current legal expenses to make a pay off offer to those that still had valid lifetime subscriptions.

So all power to you RW and the offer remains to contribute to your pursuit
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Old 02-18-2012, 12:31 PM   #7
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TiVo USA might just be starting to regret the idiot specifics of the course of action they took. Probably would have cost them a fraction of their current legal expenses to make a pay off offer to those that still had valid lifetime subscriptions.

So all power to you RW and the offer remains to contribute to your pursuit
One wonders if just continuing the service wouldn't have been the least expensive option.
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Old 02-18-2012, 03:34 PM   #8
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TiVo USA might just be starting to regret the idiot specifics of the course of action they took. Probably would have cost them a fraction of their current legal expenses to make a pay off offer to those that still had valid lifetime subscriptions.

So all power to you RW and the offer remains to contribute to your pursuit


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One wonders if just continuing the service wouldn't have been the least expensive option.
Yes indeed, although I think probably TiVo's exclusive agreement with Virgin would have ruled that out (and may have been the reason it ended).
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Old 02-18-2012, 05:19 PM   #9
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Yes indeed, although I think probably TiVo's exclusive agreement with Virgin would have ruled that out (and may have been the reason it ended).
I very strongly suspect that Virgin whispered in TiVo's ear "We want Virgin cable and TiVo to be synonymous in the public's mind, so dump all that old stuff or no deal".

Since there are ads running over here now that say "TiVo now works with satellite" with a DirecTV logo right underneath, I guess the public does forget quickly, or at least the people selling this stuff think so.
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Old 02-28-2012, 01:13 PM   #10
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Update: TiVo Inc acknowledged service of the claim last Thursday but needless to say, having insisted over and over again all through these proceedings that the claim should correctly be served on TiVo Inc at its US headquarters, it has now declared its intention to dispute the court's jurisdiction! It's what I always expected, which is why I tried so hard to serve them in the UK; but really, they have some nerve.

By an astonishing coincidence their lawyers this time are exactly the same lawyers who defended TiVo (UK) Ltd, even though they insisted the two companies were entirely separate and independent entities. Although I didn't name the lawyers before I can't see any reason not to, so, it's Simmons & Simmons. They monitor this forum carefully so you can say hello if you like.

Although I've always gone out my way to be courteous to them, Simmons & Simmons wrote me an extremely unpleasant and intimidating letter last week saying it would cost TiVo Inc £6,500 to £8,500 plus other unspecified costs to dispute the court's jurisdiction and threatening to seek recovery of the whole of these costs from me unless I abandoned my claim. They enclosed a Notice of Discontinuance for me to fill in and gave me until close of business on the Friday of last week to complete and return it. Well, what with one thing and another I never did get around to it and now the deadline's passed so, oh well, it looks like I'll just have to sell the house.

Anyway, the next deadline isn't far off - they have until 8 March to challenge the court's jurisdiction, which is Wednesday of next week. So do check back if you're interested.
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:02 PM   #11
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Hello Simmons and Simmons!

rwtomkins - If you need to start a Spartacus fund then the other Spartacuses (Spartaci?) on here will no doubt chip in
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Old 02-29-2012, 03:30 AM   #12
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Although I've always gone out my way to be courteous to them, Simmons & Simmons wrote me an extremely unpleasant and intimidating letter last week saying it would cost TiVo Inc £6,500 to £8,500 plus other unspecified costs to dispute the court's jurisdiction and threatening to seek recovery of the whole of these costs from me unless I abandoned my claim.
My understanding if it's in a small claim track the solicitors costs are normally not permitted to be charged as cost, but not sure how this works as you've made a pretty unusual path.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:42 AM   #13
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I think the problem Gavin, is that it has not yet been allocated a track.

Since it's been established that you have to serve claim in the US which would put off 99% of possible claimants, and small claims actions don't set legal precedent anyway, I'd have thought in cash terms they's have been better off settling.
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Old 02-29-2012, 03:46 PM   #14
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That's right, the costs are only limited after it's been allocated to the small claims track and what TiVo Inc and its lawyers do is try to keep it out of the small claims track by forcing preliminary hearings where they threaten to build up astronomical costs and seek recovery from you unless you drop the claim. It's a dirty job but somebody has to do it.

And yes, it would have been far cheaper for TiVo to settle. But the people fighting this aren't spending their own money, they are spending the shareholders' and the shareholders don't know anything about it so there's really no limit to how much they can spend. Also, TiVo spends its whole life these days in litigation and I think it's probably true to say that litigation is now a much bigger part of its business than the TV stuff so I think they are just in a mindset where they fight everything to the death regardless of cost, still less the rights and wrongs.
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Old 02-29-2012, 04:39 PM   #15
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That's right, the costs are only limited after it's been allocated to the small claims track and what TiVo Inc and its lawyers do is try to keep it out of the small claims track by forcing preliminary hearings where they threaten to build up astronomical costs and seek recovery from you unless you drop the claim. It's a dirty job but somebody has to do it.

And yes, it would have been far cheaper for TiVo to settle. But the people fighting this aren't spending their own money, they are spending the shareholders' and the shareholders don't know anything about it so there's really no limit to how much they can spend. Also, TiVo spends its whole life these days in litigation and I think it's probably true to say that litigation is now a much bigger part of its business than the TV stuff so I think they are just in a mindset where they fight everything to the death regardless of cost, still less the rights and wrongs.

I suspect they don't want to settle with you or let any precedent be set in the matter because they don't want to get dragged into court by everybody else over there with lifetime subs.
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:17 AM   #16
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I suspect they don't want to settle with you or let any precedent be set in the matter because they don't want to get dragged into court by everybody else over there with lifetime subs.
Anything settled in small claims court doesn't set a legal precedent. It's out of the usual system. I'm inclined to the 'defend to the death' hypothesis offered above. It hasn't served them too badly over the last few years.

It amazes me how frightened people are (in general not necessarily on this board) of going to court or being taken to court. We are in dispute with our landlord on our retail premises over various things & he has threatened us with court action. He boasts that he always wins because people always back out at the last minute. He was very taken aback when I said "great, take us to court" because the facts are on our side & we would win hands down.

It's just frustrating that you can only claim actual losses in small claims court & not damages because I would have taken him straight there months ago. As it is, we can't afford a civil action. The law is only for the rich!??

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Old 03-03-2012, 11:24 AM   #17
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Anything settled in small claims court doesn't set a legal precedent. It's out of the usual system. I'm inclined to the 'defend to the death' hypothesis offered above. It hasn't served them too badly over the last few years.

It amazes me how frightened people are (in general not necessarily on this board) of going to court or being taken to court. We are in dispute with our landlord on our retail premises over various things & he has threatened us with court action. He boasts that he always wins because people always back out at the last minute. He was very taken aback when I said "great, take us to court" because the facts are on our side & we would win hands down.

It's just frustrating that you can only claim actual losses in small claims court & not damages because I would have taken him straight there months ago. As it is, we can't afford a civil action. The law is only for the rich!??

Martin
I didn't say legal precedent, just precedent, as in "hey, that other guy sued them and won, I'm going to sue them too.", as opposed to "that other guy tried to sue and got nowhere after wasting a bunch of time and money, I'm sure not going to bother trying it.".
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Old 03-04-2012, 05:53 AM   #18
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I didn't say legal precedent, just precedent, as in "hey, that other guy sued them and won, I'm going to sue them too.", as opposed to "that other guy tried to sue and got nowhere after wasting a bunch of time and money, I'm sure not going to bother trying it.".
Fair enough, good point. I'd discounted that as how would 'Joe Bloggs' know about the ruling but I'd forgottten that 'Joe Bloggs' would be on here reading about it!

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Old 03-04-2012, 11:31 AM   #19
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I would willingly chip in

This really does stink; I'd be more than happy to chip in to whatever a Spartacus fund is (off to Google it now!)
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Old 03-04-2012, 03:44 PM   #20
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I suspect they don't want to settle with you or let any precedent be set in the matter because they don't want to get dragged into court by everybody else over there with lifetime subs.
I think you could have said this a year ago but really, if I won, how many UK subscribers do you think would go through what I've been through over such a relatively small amount of money? I think it's more about sending the broader message that, right or wrong, nobody sues TiVo Inc and lives, though it could also be a rehearsal for when they switch off the lifetime service in the US.

By the way I've written to the court asking them to take control of this case and stop it turning into a runaway train in terms of cost and time, and there's been correspondence between me and the lawyers too - there's a lot that goes on that I don't report here because I don't want to conduct the trial on the forum. TiVo is due to file it's challenge to the jurisdiction this week so that's the next development.
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Old 03-04-2012, 04:09 PM   #21
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I think you could have said this a year ago but really, if I won, how many UK subscribers do you think would go through what I've been through over such a relatively small amount of money? I think it's more about sending the broader message that, right or wrong, nobody sues TiVo Inc and lives, though it could also be a rehearsal for when they switch off the lifetime service in the US.

By the way I've written to the court asking them to take control of this case and stop it turning into a runaway train in terms of cost and time, and there's been correspondence between me and the lawyers too - there's a lot that goes on that I don't report here because I don't want to conduct the trial on the forum. TiVo is due to file it's challenge to the jurisdiction this week so that's the next development.
I figure if you win, that's at least one other person who will try.

If they win, I suspect a couple more people will try.

If they win, more will be encouraged.

Eventually it could wind up talked about in the mainstream press.

As the late Senator (and recording artist) Everett Dirksen is supposed to have said in a different context, "...sooner or later you're talking real money."
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Old 03-10-2012, 04:00 PM   #22
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Well, they filed their challenge to the court's jurisdiction on time. It's gigantic, weighing a couple of kilos at least, and they're now seeking further exchanges of evidence and legal submissions in the run-up to a trial some months off in which they would be represented by a barrister etc etc.... all this just to resolve the preliminary issue of whether the court has jurisdiction.
For the first time this is becoming a headache because I actually have to wade through all this guff and respond to it and put my own case as to why their jurisdiction challenge should be turned down. I'll be pointing out to the court that this a small claim and it's getting completely out of control and please will they restore some sanity to the proceedings but I have no idea how they'll respond. I doubt whether the lawyers have, either - I can't imagine they've ever fought a small claim before.
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Old 03-11-2012, 01:44 AM   #23
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Small claim but it will set a precedent which I imagine there need to defend to the hills. If they win and claim their cost it could go into 10's of thousands :/

I was forced to take a low settlement 16 years ago on a property purchase. We may have won a lot more, but if we lost the cost would have been 30-40k and we couldn't afford to take the hit.
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:00 AM   #24
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Small claim but it will set a precedent [...]
IANAL - UK Small Claim does not set a legal "precedent" (case law), however if it gets promoted to County Court then it can.
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Old 03-11-2012, 12:11 PM   #25
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If it gets to County Court then there is the risk that costs could get awarded against RW

There are times in life when you realise you may have a full house but what if the other guy has a straight flush hidden up his sleeve
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Old 03-12-2012, 05:26 AM   #26
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I would be seriously worried about ending up with a massive bill on a technicality. I know that's clearly their plan.

I'm genuinely horrified that Tivo would sooner go at you like you were a multinational than have a fair and equitable exchange in front of a small claims court for a limited amount of damages that doesn't set any legal precedent.

I was never likely to give Tivo my money in the future, but this totally disproportionate response has sealed my opinion of them forever - bullies.

Good luck if you choose to continue but I wouldn't blame you if you didn't now.
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Old 03-13-2012, 04:29 PM   #27
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I would be seriously worried about ending up with a massive bill on a technicality. I know that's clearly their plan.

I'm genuinely horrified that Tivo would sooner go at you like you were a multinational than have a fair and equitable exchange in front of a small claims court for a limited amount of damages that doesn't set any legal precedent.

I was never likely to give Tivo my money in the future, but this totally disproportionate response has sealed my opinion of them forever - bullies.

Good luck if you choose to continue but I wouldn't blame you if you didn't now.
Thanks, AMc. I just have to take each step as it comes and I still have a touching faith that the justice system will protect the little person against the, as you say, bullies. What really sticks in my craw is that this jurisdiction challenge I'm up to my neck in right now, and the financial worry that goes with it, should never have been. When my claim against TiVo (UK) Ltd went to a preliminary hearing at the other court last year, the lawyers argued that I'd brought my claim against the wrong party and I would have to claim against TiVo Inc in California. Well obviously this looked like a ploy to dodge jurisdiction so I said something to that effect in my written submission to the court but the lawyers went out of their way to assure the court that there was "no bar whatsoever" to bringing my claim against TiVo Inc, as long as the claim was properly served with the court's permission. They actually stated that in their written submission to the court. So after the claim against TiVo (UK) Ltd was struck out, I thought, well, at least I have that guarantee, so if I can just find out how to serve a claim in the US, and if it's not too expensive, and as long as I can get the court's permission - at last, I'll have my small claim. And instead, guess what, after months of going through all the hoops to get permission and serve the claim, the very same lawyers who said there was "no bar whatsoever" to a claim are now throwing an enormous jurisdiction challenge in my way. I really am sick about this. It just doesn't seem right and now this whole thing is taking over my life, along with all the financial worries. As you say, bullies.
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Old 03-13-2012, 06:27 PM   #28
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I am sick about this. It just doesn't seem right and now this whole thing is taking over my life, along with all the financial worries. As you say, bullies.
Hi.

I've been following your story since the beginning - it's my only reason to remain subscribed to this forum. If, as you say, the whole thing is taking over your life, then you should seriously be asking yourself whether it is worth it. If you decide to continue, then I wish you the best of luck. If you decide not, I think you can safely say that you have given it a good go and made a strong point to the company.
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Old 03-13-2012, 08:23 PM   #29
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Congratulations on serving papers to tivo inc,perhaps consider putting a little website up with requests for donations ,we can help it go viral and hopefully at least help you with your costs or even the risk of your costs .

There are a lot of online groups totally against corporate bullying who would pick this issue up ,Tivo inc whoever is handling your PR are they asleep ?
you need to get a grip ,these are kiddy mistakes your making here .

IMHO your response should be simple and succinct ,just as you outlined it on here .its quite duplicitous for Tivo to claim immunity for both companies.

good luck and best wishes to you ,if i can help in anyway contact me .
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Old 03-14-2012, 02:20 AM   #30
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TiVo Series1 DVRs were manufactured for sale in the UK from 2000 to 2002 and were available exclusively to customers of BSkyB.
Series 1 were made by Thomson, Tivo themselves dont make the hardware, but they were sold in comet, curry dixons and so on (I think mine came from Tempo).

They were never just for sale to Sky customers only althougth Sky did run the call centre on behalf of Tivo.
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