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TiVo Awarded Another $200 Mln in EchoStar Patent Suit

TivoJust how much is DVR functionality worth? For EchoStar and corporate parent Dish Network, the answer may be more than $400 million: A U.S. District Court has awarded TiVO another $200 million in damages in the company’s long-running patent infringement suit with EchoStar, bringing the total damages assessed against the satellite TV operator to around $400 million—and that’s not counting lawyers’ fees. The amount works out to about $2.25 per month per EchoStar DVR subscriber—although maybe EchoStar is counting itself lucky, since TiVo was seeking $1 billion in penalties.

EchoStar and Dish Networks are appealing the patent infringement decision, and are looking to have TiVo’s patent declared invalid. The companies will also appeal this latest ruling.

In issuing the penalty, U.S. District Court Judge David Folsom said the court found some of EchoStar’s promotional efforts for its own DVR technology to be in poor taste. Furthermore, the judge warned the court will “seriously entertain the award of enhanced sanctions” if EchoStar’s appeal fails and the company continued to flout the court’s order to stop selling infringing technology. However, the judge accepted Dish Network founder Charlie Ergen’s statement that his company believed they had worked around TiVo’s patented technology in good faith.

Last June, the court ordered Echostar to shut down DVR capabilities that infringed on TiVo’s patents; in July, EchoStar won a stay that let DVR features keep running while the case was on appeal.

Although EchoStar hsa been on TiVo’s legal radar for years, the company is apparently confident its patents will hold up: last month, the company filed similar infringement suits against AT&T and Verizon.