TiVo wins key ruling in EchoStar case

U.S. Court of Appeals rules that EchoStar did, in fact, violate TiVo's DVR patents, paving the way for the disabling of infringing devices.

TiVo has scored an important victory in its patent battle with EchoStar.

In a 7-5 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled (PDF) yesterday that EchoStar did, in fact, violate TiVo's "multimedia time warping system" patent that allows consumers to record one show, while watching another. The decision paves the way for TiVo to finally force EchoStar to disable any infringing devices in consumers' homes.

TiVo's battle with EchoStar started in 2004, when the DVR company first brought to light its belief that its patent was infringed. In 2006, a Texas court granted TiVo $73.9 million in damages after finding that EchoStar violated its patent. In 2009, a U.S. District Court judge bumped that figure to $200 million .

Last year, EchoStar brought its case to the U.S. Court of Appeals, which ruled in favor of TiVo in a 2-1 decision . EchoStar then asked for an en banc opinion, requiring all 12 judges to rule on the case . It was granted, and EchoStar received its answer yesterday.

But the fight isn't necessarily over. In a statement released yesterday, EchoStar said that it intends to bring its case to the U.S. Supreme Court and "seek a stay of the injunction while doing so."

For its part, TiVo is pleased. The company anticipates disabling the devices in question and receiving damages related to the case.

"We look forward to the permanent injunction against EchoStar and Dish Network finally being enforced with respect to the DVRs they must now disable," TiVo said in a statement. "This ruling also paves the way for TiVo to receive substantial damages and contempt sanctions regarding the DVRs that EchoStar and Dish Network failed to disable."

EchoStar was formerly Dish Network's parent company. The satellite provider, which has been included in this case, was spun off in 2007 .

EchoStar noted yesterday that many of the allegedly infringing devices have been taken out of customers' homes. The company said that if it can't secure a stay, it will "work as quickly as possible to upgrade the remaining customers to our current-generation DVRs, as these are not an issue in the ruling."

TiVo shares were up more than $2 to close at $10.84 yesterday, following news of the ruling.

 

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