Appeals court grants Dish rare review of TiVo case

Fri, 05/14/2010 - 8:30am
Deborah Yao, AP Business Writer

A federal appeals court on Friday granted Dish Network Corp. a rare, full-court review of a ruling it had earlier lost to TiVo Inc., one that could have resulted in the satellite TV company disabling millions of digital video recorders.

Instead, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington breathed new life into litigation that Dish has consistently lost to TiVo. Dish's decision to seek an "en banc" review was seen as CEO Charlie Ergen's last straw effort as damages mounted. Ergen had even believed that the appeals court was unlikely to grant it.

Shares of DVR pioneer TiVo fell by $6.52, or 37.5 percent, to $10.87 in midday trading. Dish rose by $1.22, or 5.6 percent, to $23.18.

But it's uncertain whether Dish will have eventual victory given that TiVo has prevailed in a series of other court rulings.

TiVo sued Dish in 2004 for patent infringement over a technology that stored and retrieved video on DVRs, which lets viewers pause, rewind and replay live TV. Dish lost the case on appeal, paid TiVo $104.6 million in damages and interest, and was barred from using the technology.

While the case was going on, Dish redesigned software that it said did not infringe on TiVo's patent. But U.S. District Judge David Folsom disagreed after a trial in Marshall, Texas. He ordered Dish to pay TiVo additional damages – this time at $103 million plus interest, along with about $200 million in contempt sanctions.

Dish appealed the contempt sanctions but lost March 4. Friday's ruling vacates that decision.

More Broadband Direct 5/14/10:
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•  Time Warner, Verizon ready to roll out TV Everywhere to FiOS subs
•  Cox Business hooks up Ariz. SMBs with NAP connection
•  Appeals court grants Dish rare review of TiVo case
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•  Verizon West Virginia sale to Frontier approved
•  CDC: 1 in 4 households are wireless-only
•  Wireless users opt for service without commitment
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•  Blockbuster posts Q1 loss, sees 'challenging' year



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