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TiVo wins another patent victory against EchoStar/Dish

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal District has ruled that EchoStar digital video records did violate TiVo’s crucial “time warp” patent on DVR functionality, and that EchoStar is on the hook for damages and subject to an injunction barring the infringing technology from the market. (PDF) Although the seven-to-five decision theoretically clears the way for TiVo to require infringing DVRs be shut off, EchoStar says it plans to appeal the case again—this time to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The patent fight between EchoStar—now owned by Dish Network—dates all the way back to 2004, when TiVo accused EchoStar of infringing on DVR technology it had no only invented, but patented. The wound through the courts and TiVo’s famous “time warp” patent was found upheld as valid, although EchoStar is still trying to get the patent re-examined and nullified. Nonetheless, TiVo has chalked up a string of victories in the case: in 2006, a Texas court granted TiVo $73.9 million in damages, and that figure was increased to over $200 million in 2009 by an appeals court.

TiVo wasted no time lauding the decision and eager anticipating forcing EchoStar to disable infringing DVRs. “This marks the second time that the district court’s contempt ruling has been upheld by the Court of Appeals,” the company wrote in a statement. “We look forward to the permanent injunction against EchoStar and Dish Network finally being enforced with respect to the DVRs they must now disable.”

In a statement, Dish Network emphasized that its customers are not immediately impacted by the ruling, and that the company plans to continue pursuing the case. “We intend to seek review of that part of the decision by the United States Supreme Court and seek a stay of the injunction while doing so.”

The previous appeal ruling against EchoStar had come by a way of a two-to-one decision by the court of appeals. The most recent ruling comes following EchoStar’s request that its appeal be heard by the court’s full twelve-judge panel.

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