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Dish Gets Another Day in Court to Battle TiVo’s Patent Lawsuit

5/14/2010

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A federal appeals court granted the Dish Network Corporation, the satellite TV company, a full-court review on Friday of a ruling it lost to TiVo in a patent dispute over television recording devices.  The earlier ruling had threatened to force Dish to disable millions of its customers’ digital video recorders.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington gave Dish a chance for a better outcome in the litigation, which it has consistently lost to TiVo.

Dish had asked for a full court review of the case and had resisted paying TiVo damages that have mounted to about $400 million. Charles W. Ergen, Dish’s chief executive, gambled that the company would prevail in a lawsuit that has stretched on for six years. On Monday, Mr. Ergen told analysts in a conference call that he was prepared to remotely disable his customers’ DVRs.

TiVo said in a statement that it remained confident of prevailing in the case but was “disappointed that we do not yet have finality in this case despite years of litigation.”  The case goes back to 2004, when TiVo, a pioneer in digital video recorders, sued Dish for patent infringement over a technology that stored and retrieved video on DVRs that Dish leased to its customers. Dish lost the case, paid TiVo $104.6 million in damages and interest and was barred from using the technology.

While the case was going on, Dish redesigned its DVR software so that, it said, the technology did not infringe TiVo’s patent. But Judge David Folsom of United States District Court in Marshall, Tex., disagreed and said Dish violated his order of a permanent injunction.

He ordered Dish to pay TiVo additional damages — $103 million plus interest, along with about $200 million in contempt sanctions.  Dish appealed the ruling finding it in contempt, but lost on March 4. Friday’s ruling vacates that decision.

Source: New York  Times

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