Judge schedules Feb. trail in TiVo, Dish Network dustup

Fri, 11/21/2008 - 7:35am
Mike Robuck

Yesterday, a federal judge in Texas scheduled a bench trial for Feb. 17-18 in order to determine if Dish Network and EchoStar are still infringing on TiVo’s DVR patent.

Judge David Folsom, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, said that each party will have five hours to present their case during the February trial.

Dish Network and EchoStar released the following statement in regard to Folsom’s ruling yesterday: “We are pleased that the district court did not find us in contempt on the face of the injunction. We look forward to the February bench trial on our software design-around.”

TiVo also released a statement that took issue with Dish Network and EchoStar’s interpretation of Judge Folsom’s ruling: “Contrary to EchoStar's statement yesterday, the court did not rule on TiVo's pending motion for contempt of the injunction. The Court will do so after the hearing, as well as rule on the amount of damages owed to TiVo (which EchoStar admitted at the September 4, 2008, hearing are owed) beyond the nearly $105 million already paid by EchoStar. 


“This is a positive step, particularly the accelerated discovery ordered by the Court, toward the ultimate resolution of all issues in the litigation, and we remain confident that we will prevail in showing that EchoStar's workaround does not avoid infringement."

In January, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., ruled that Dish Network had infringed on TiVo’s patent for digital video recorders.

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

TiVo sued EchoStar in 2004 for infringement of TiVo’s “time warp” technology, which allows DVR users to pause live television. The function also allows viewers to watch one program while recording another.

In October, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Dish Network’s appeal of the patent infringement case, which included Dish Network paying $104 million in damages to TiVo.

EchoStar continued collecting subscription fees for the infringing DVRs and replaced the infringing software with a "work-around" that it said does not use TiVo's patented technology.

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