In a development that will help TiVo‘s long-running patent dispute with satellite TV operator EchoStar, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a unappealable, final finding that TiVo’s "Time Warp" patent (6,233,389) is valid and enforceable.
"We are extremely pleased that the PTO has now found all claims of the Time Warp Patent to be valid after conducting a reexamination of the patent requested by EchoStar," said TiVo in a statement. "Today’s decision by the PTO brings us another step closer to ending EchoStar’s continued infringement and we are hopeful that the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will uphold the district court judgment of patent infringement and reinstate the injunction."
TiVo sued EchoStar in 2004 over DVR systems the company sells for use with its Dish Network satellite service. In 2006, a jury awarded TiVo $73 million damaged for patent infringement. TiVo also got an injunction against EchoStar which would require the company to disable DVR functionality in its systems, but EchoStar challenged the validity of the patent involved, resulting in a stay on the injunction.
The USPTO’s decision means EchoStar can no longer question the validity of the patent involved in the suit, which not only strengthens TiVo’s position with other DVR makers, but increases the likelihood that EchoStar will either have to reach some sort of settlement with TiVo, or risk the injunction and infringement awards being re-instated.