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Roku Under Investigation By ITC For Universal Electronics Patent Infringement

The International Trade Commission (ITC) is investigating a claim of patent infringement brought by Universal Electronics (UEIC) against Roku (ROKU) and its partners, namely TTE Technology, Hisense Co, and Funai Electric Co.

On April 16, UEI filed a complaint with the ITC alleging that these companies engaged in unfair trade practices by the importation of certain streaming players, remote controls, televisions, set top boxes, and components that infringe six Universal patents.

“For over 30 years, UEI has invested in innovation to invent unique technology for our customers,” said Paul Arling, UEI’s CEO. “To protect our assets, we have amassed over 500 patents that we use in our solutions and license to software and technology manufacturers. When other companies use our technology without permission… we take action to vigorously protect our valuable IP.” 

UEI is asking the ITC for an Exclusion Order to bar importation of the relevant products, as well as a a Cease and Desist Order to bar further sales of infringing products that have already been imported.

According to Universal, the ITC investigation is likely to continue through 2020 and with the first case to be tried in the first quarter of 2021.

“All of the UEI Patents are part of a portfolio of technology that is broadly licensed to OEMs” says Universal, with licensees of its QuickSet solution for simplifying universal control setup and operation including Comcast, Sony and Microsoft.

Overall, ROKU shows a cautiously optimistic Moderate Buy Street consensus right now. That’s with 7 recent buy ratings vs 4 hold ratings and 2 sell ratings. Meanwhile the average analyst price target indicates 11% upside potential, with shares down 13% on a year-to-date basis. (See Roku stock analysis on TipRanks).

“We think Roku’s valuation will remain volatile as the company navigates a recession while expanding internationally. With limited upside to our target, we reiterate our Neutral rating” comments Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter.

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