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Dish ordered to pay TiVo $200 million

Federal judge orders Dish Network to pay TiVo nearly $200 million for continuing to sell DVRs it has determined infringe on a TiVo patent.

Jennifer Guevin Managing Editor / Reviews
Jennifer Guevin is managing editor at CNET, overseeing the ever-helpful How To section, special packages, and front-page programming. As a writer, she gravitates toward science, quirky geek culture stories, robots, and food. In real life, she mostly just gravitates toward food.
Jennifer Guevin
2 min read

Dish Network has been ordered to pay about $200 million to TiVo in an ongoing patent dispute over DVR technology.

The lawsuit goes back to 2004, when TiVo sued EchoStar (now a part of the Dish Network) for violating a patent on a "multimedia time-warping system," which involved recording a program on one channel while watching another.

A jury in 2006 found that Dish's digital video recorders infringed upon a patent held by TiVo and ordered it to pay TiVo $73.9 million in damages. That ruling has been upheld in two separate federal appeals. Dish has said its engineers updated its software years ago to design around TiVo's patent and that they removed the features TiVo claims infringe on its patent. But the company hasn't made much progress with that argument. Dish was ordered to pay $103 million plus interest to TiVo in June for being in contempt of court for violating a permanent injunction on selling DVRs with infringing technology.

In the latest salvo, TiVo sued for nearly $1 billion and claimed it was due all of Dish's DVR profits for the five-plus years the dispute has been ongoing, according to Bloomberg. Instead, U.S. District Judge David Folsom in Texarcana, Texas, on Friday awarded TiVo just under $200 million in total, saying the infringement wasn't willful and that Dish has made a good faith effort to design around the TiVo patent.

For their part, both companies are claiming the new ruling as a victory.

TiVo said in a statement, "We are pleased by the court's ruling to impose contempt sanctions of approximately $200 million against EchoStar for its continued violation of a court-ordered permanent injunction...We are confident that this ruling brings us closer to final resolution."

Dish Network, meanwhile, released this equally positive statement: "We are pleased that the district court rejected TiVo's request to award a billion dollars in sanctions and that it found that any violation of the injunction was not willful. While we disagree that any amount of sanctions was warranted, the decision confirms our belief that we designed around TiVo's patent in good faith. We believe that we ultimately will prevail on appeal."