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NDS Group, the TV technology unit of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., said it and two of its subsidiaries have been named as defendants in a lawsuit filed by DirecTV, one of its top customers, in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

The suit alleges misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, fraud and statutory violations relating to NDS' provision of conditional access services to DirecTV. NDS has provided DirecTV with its conditional access system since the satellite TV service launched in 1994. At DirecTV's request, the action was filed under seal.

The suit seeks unspecified damages and injunctive relief, NDS said. The company added that allegations are similar and related to a complaint in a prior action commenced by DirecTV that was dismissed in February.

"NDS believes these allegations as well as the additional ones in the complaint are without merit and a pretext designed to enable DirecTV to circumvent restrictions on DirecTV's future use of NDS' intellectual property. NDS intends to vigorously defend the action and assert counterclaims against DirecTV," the company said in a statement.

In response, DirecTV said that - contrary to NDS' assertion - the allegations in the lawsuit are unrelated to a previous complaint DirecTV filed against NDS. That complaint involved two specific breach of contract claims and was dismissed following a settlement agreement between the two companies that satisfied DirecTV's demands, the satellite TV company said.

DirecTV said it's seeking relief from the court that includes compensatory and other damages, delivery of software technology required by the contract between the companies, and a preliminary and permanent injunction that would enjoin NDS from engaging in further breaches of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets.

From SkyReport (Used with Permission)
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