Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Commitments and Contingencies

Commitments and Contingencies
6 Months Ended
Jul. 31, 2011
Commitments and Contingencies
7. Commitments and Contingencies
ARRIS Litigation
On July 31, 2009, ARRIS Group, Inc. (“ARRIS”) filed a contempt motion in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware against SeaChange International relating to U.S. Patent No 5,805,804 (the “804 patent”), a patent in which ARRIS has an ownership interest.  In its motion, ARRIS is seeking further patent royalties and the enforcement of the permanent injunction entered by the Court on April 6, 2006 against certain SeaChange products.  On August 3, 2009, SeaChange filed a complaint seeking a declaratory judgment from the Court that its products do not infringe the ‘804 patent and asserting certain equitable defenses.  On June 4, 2010, the Court entered an Order staying the declaratory judgment action pending resolution of the contempt proceeding.  On September 2, 2011, the Court entered an Order in which it concluded that a contempt proceeding is the appropriate procedure for resolving the parties’ dispute and that further factual and legal determinations would be necessary.  The Order made no determinations as to liability.  No schedule has been set by the Court for the additional proceedings.
Indemnification and Warranties
SeaChange provides indemnification, to the extent permitted by law, to its officers, directors, employees and agents for liabilities arising from certain events or occurrences while the officer, director, employee, or agent is or was serving at SeaChange’s request in such capacity. With respect to acquisitions, SeaChange provides indemnification to or assumes indemnification obligations for the current and former directors, officers and employees of the acquired companies in accordance with the acquired companies’ bylaws and charter. As a matter of practice, SeaChange has maintained directors' and officers’ liability insurance including coverage for directors and officers of acquired companies.
SeaChange enters into agreements in the ordinary course of business with customers, resellers, distributors, integrators and suppliers. Most of these agreements require SeaChange to defend and/or indemnify the other party against intellectual property infringement claims brought by a third party with respect to SeaChange’s products. From time to time, SeaChange also indemnifies customers and business partners for damages, losses and liabilities they may suffer or incur relating to personal injury, personal property damage, product liability, and environmental claims relating to the use of SeaChange’s products and services or resulting from the acts or omissions of SeaChange, its employees, authorized agents or subcontractors. For example, SeaChange has received requests from several of its customers for indemnification of patent litigation claims asserted by Acacia Media Technologies, USA Video Technology Corporation, Multimedia Patent Trust, Microsoft Corporation, VTran Media Technologies and Active Video. Management performed an analysis of these requests, evaluating whether any potential losses were probable and estimable.
SeaChange warrants that its products, including software products, will substantially perform in accordance with its standard published specifications in effect at the time of delivery. Most warranties have at least a one year duration that generally commence upon installation. In addition, SeaChange provides maintenance support to customers and therefore allocates a portion of the product purchase price to the initial warranty period and recognizes revenue on a straight line basis over that warranty period related to both the warranty obligation and the maintenance support agreement. When SeaChange receives revenue for extended warranties beyond the standard duration, it is deferred and recognized on a straight line basis over the contract period. Related costs are expensed as incurred.
In the ordinary course of business, SeaChange provides minimum purchase guarantees to certain of its vendors to ensure continuity of supply against the market demand. Although some of these guarantees provide penalties for cancellations and/or modifications to the purchase commitments as the market demand decreases, most of the guarantees do not. Therefore, as the market demand decreases, SeaChange re-evaluates the accounting implications of guarantees and determines what charges, if any, should be recorded.
With respect to its agreements covering product, business or entity divestitures and acquisitions, SeaChange provides certain representations and warranties and agrees to indemnify and hold such purchasers harmless against breaches of such representations, warranties and covenants. With respect to its acquisitions, SeaChange may, from time to time, assume the liability for certain events or occurrences that took place prior to the date of acquisition.
SeaChange provides such guarantees and indemnification obligations after considering the economics of the transaction and other factors including, but not limited to, the liquidity and credit risk of the other party in the transaction. SeaChange believes that the likelihood is remote that any such arrangement could have a material adverse effect on its financial position, results of operation or liquidity. SeaChange records liabilities, as disclosed above, for such guarantees based on the Company’s best estimate of probable losses which considers amounts recoverable under any recourse provisions.