Dish to Pay TiVo $104 Million

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The long-running patent dispute between DVR pioneer TiVo and satellite provider Dish Network has—more or less—come to an end: the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear Dish Network’s appeal of the long-running patent infringement case, so the company will have to pay $104 million for infringing on TiVo’s DVR technology.

“Because of the Supreme Court’s decision, we will pay Tivo approximately $104 million (the amount the jury awarded in 2006 plus interest),” Dish Network said in a brief statement. “The money is in an escrow account and will be released to Tivo in the next few days.”

The patent dispute between the two companies ates to 2005, when TiVo was granted the so-called “time warp” patent regarding DVR functionality that enabled users to “time-shift” broadcast television programming., including the ability to pause and rewind live television. A jury ruled in favor of TiVo in August 2006, awarding $74 million in damages. EchoStar countersued, attempting to have TiVo’s patent declared invalid, but the patent was upheld in November 2006. EchoStar appealed, but TiVo’s victory was upheld by an appeals court in early 2008.

Dish Network may have to pay TiVo even more money: U.S. district court judge David Folsom in Texas still has to rule on whether EchoStar most pay TiVo damages for failing to disable infringing DVR systems, as required by a court injunction. When TiVo won its first victories in the case, the court ordered EchoStar to disable infringing functions on its DVR units; instead EchoStar implemented a “workaround” technology it claimed did not infringe on TiVo patents, and continued to charge customers subscription fees for DVR service. The court must now determine whether EchoStar is in contempt of the original injunction, and, if so, whether TiVo is entitled to damages because EchoStar did not disable its DVRs.

EchoStar maintains its workaround technology does not infringe on TiVO patents.

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