Friday, April 14, 2006

TiVo wins patent case against EchoStar

A federal jury in Texas on April 13 awarded TiVo $73.9 million after finding that satellite dish provider EchoStar Communications Inc. infringed its patents in a case described as "life or death" for the money-losing video recorder company.

TiVo also said it would seek a permanent injunction [IPBiz: eBay v. MercExchange, anyone?] against EchoStar Communications Corp.'s DVR products after the Texas jury awarded it $73.9 million for lost profits and reasonable royalties.

EchoStar, which operates the No. 2 U.S. satellite television service and owns the Dish Satellite TV Network, said it was confident it would prevail in post-trial motions or on appeal.

"Among other things, we believe the patent -- as interpreted in this case -- is overly broad given the technology in existence when Tivo filed its patent," EchoStar said in a statement. [IPBiz: Hmmm, that sounds like an argument someone might be making in the future about the WARF/Thomson embryonic stem cell patents.]

Tivo brought the case to a U.S. District Court in Texas and accused EchoStar of stealing its technology. Last year, EchoStar counter sued TiVo, saying the company used technology patented by EchoStar between 1998 and 2003.

April Horace, an analyst at Hoefer & Arnett, said the ruling could spur others to sign licensing deals with TiVo to avoid potential lawsuits.

"If the shares shot up after the market closed it was probably in part because everybody believes the rest of the industry would automatically license TiVo technology," she said.


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