EchoStar beat TiVo in the race to reach 1 million DVR subscribers, but TiVo beat the DBS provider in the courts, slapping EchoStar with a patent infringement suit last month.
TiVo, in a suit filed in Texas, alleged that EchoStar has infringed on TiVo's "Time Warp" patent. That patent, No. 6,233,389, includes a method for some key DVR functions, including the recording of one program while playing back another, watching a program as it is recording, and a storage format that supports trick-play (pause, fast-forward, rewind, etc.) functions. TiVo said it filed the patent in July 1998.
TiVo surpassed the 1 million subscriber milestone in November 2003, just behind EchoStar, which reached that milestone in September.
EchoStar CEO Charlie Ergen told reporters at last month's Consumer Electronics Show that he was "confident we do not infringe on [TiVo's] patent. We do not think TiVo has a particularly strong case."