Appeals court to hear EchoStar, TiVo patent fight again

A federal court grants EchoStar's petition to take another look at the long-running legal dispute over DVR technology patents.

In yet another twist on the years-long patent dispute between TiVo and EchoStar, an appeals court has agreed to a fresh hearing of the case.

The U.S. Appeals Court for the Federal Circuit on Friday granted EchoStar's petition for a rehearing en banc, which means all the judges on a court will be present for a rehearing of the patent dispute between the two TV service providers. This is typically used when hearing an appeal on a decision made by a panel, or just a few of the judges on the court.

That means the March 4 victory for TiVo, in which an appeals court upheld an injunction on Dish Network's DVRs that were earlier ruled to use technology patented by TiVo, gets thrown out.

In a statement Friday, EchoStar said, "Dish Network and EchoStar are pleased that the full Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has granted their petition for rehearing en banc. We believe the issues that will be considered by the full court on rehearing will have a profound impact on innovation in the United States for years to come."

TiVo, as expected, wasn't pleased. "We are disappointed that we do not yet have finality in this case despite years of litigation, but we remain confident that the Federal Circuit's ruling in our favor will be reaffirmed after all of the judges on the Federal Circuit have had the opportunity to review the merits of this case," the company said in a statement.

A new court date has not been set, but both sides have 42 days to file briefs.

It was in 2006 that a Texas court first found Dish Network and its parent company EchoStar (they have since split into two companies) guilty of using TiVo's patented "time-warping" DVR technology. EchoStar was ordered to pay $74 million to TiVo. That amount was raised in September to $200 million.

TiVo shares dove almost 41 percent on the news to $10.27 Friday afternoon. EchoStar shares were up 0.1 percent to $20.49, while Dish Network shares were up almost 4 percent to $22.82.

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