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U.S. patent court sides with TiVo in Dish Network dispute

Fri, 02/01/2008 - 8:15am
Mike Robuck

Yesterday, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., ruled that Dish Network Corp. had infringed on TiVo’s patent for digital video recorders (DVRs), and that Dish Network has to pay $74 million in damages.

The three-judge appeals court panel agreed with a lower court’s decision that DVRs distributed by Dish, which was known as EchoStar Communications until late last year, infringed on the software elements of TiVo’s patent.

TiVo sued EchoStar in 2004 for infringement on TiVo’s “time warp” technology that allows DVR users to pause live TV. The function allows viewers to watch one program while recording another.

On Thursday, the appeals court panel overturned the lower court’s ruling that Dish had infringed on the hardware elements of TiVo’s patent.

“We are extremely pleased that the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit unanimously ruled in our favor in EchoStar's appeal of the district court judgment of patent infringement, full award of damages and that the injunction, which was stayed pending appeal, was ordered to be reinstated,” TiVo said in a statement.

The panel said the software infringement was enough to uphold the $74 million in damages that the lower court previously awarded TiVo. According to a statement by Dish Network, the actual amount is $94 million due to interest accruals.

Dish’s statement said it would appeal the $94 million verdict and said that customers would be unaffected by the ruling since it now uses its own DVR software.

“This improved software is fully operational, has been automatically downloaded to current customers and does not infringe the TiVo patent at issue in the Federal Circuit's ruling,” Dish said in the statement.

Following the panel’s ruling, TiVo’s shares hit a 52-week high in Thursday’s afternoon trading.

More Broadband Direct:

• Microsoft offers $44B for Yahoo 

• U.S. patent court sides with TiVo in Dish Network dispute 

• Sprint looking at write-off of up to $31B 

• Moto considers putting handset biz into play 

• FCC commissioners bash NTIA’s 2007 U.S. broadband report 

• NCTA’s McSlarrow outlines CableCares initiatives in New Orleans 

• Broadband Briefs for 2/01/08 

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