Breaking News: Appeals Court Refuses to Hear Echostar Appeal, TiVo’s Patent Victory Stands

TiVo Patent Win Upheld

Just off the wire
, Dish Network has failed to convince an appeals court to overturn TiVo’s earlier patent win against the company. TiVo’s earlier win is upheld.

This means that you very well may be screwed if you use Dish Network and may be seeing your DVR go away very soon. It also means that TiVo gets to keep at least $94 million in damages from Dish and possibly up to $200 million depending on the judge.

Today’s courts decision is the final decision and means that Dish Network can no longer appeal their loss to TiVo.*

It is unlikely that TiVo would negotiate with Dish going forward to allow them to use TiVo’s patented DVR technology. Instead TiVo will enjoy the windfall from the company as well as be able to use Dish as an example when negotiating with other companies.

Two weeks ago on an analysts conference call TiVo CEO Tom Rogers said as much:

“I would say based on our experience with litigation, the cost of litigation are far less than the returns that we are seeing just from the cap side of this equation and I don’t think people have seen the end of what the cap side of that equation is, but just on the basis of damage award, what we’ve spent versus what we’ve gotten back, its been a great business move.

But again, my hope would be that the perception of what we’ve achieved and the value of our intellectual property and the enforcement of an injunction and what the implications of that are will help us significantly to drive forward broader distribution deals than do so without having to litigate.”

My guess is that TiVo will use the muscle and threat behind this recent injunction to force Time Warner, one of the last operators to hold out, to do a deal with TiVo.

Update: TiVo has now issued a direct statement on their website:

“We are extremely pleased that the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit today denied EchoStar’s petition for a rehearing en banc, upholding the Court’s unanimous ruling in our favor on January 31, 2008, in EchoStar’s appeal of the district court judgment of patent infringement, full award of damages and an order for the injunction to be reinstated.

Today’s ruling brings us closer to resolution of EchoStar’s infringement and reconfirms the strength of TiVo’s Time Warp patent, which is in addition to the other benefits TiVo has to offer. We look forward to full enforcement of our rights in the near term.”

*Update #2: Amazingly, Dish is now saying that they actually will appeal this verdict all the way to the Supreme Court. Good luck with that fellas!

Dish is also saying that this injunction will not require them to turn off any DVRs.

“We are disappointed that the Federal Circuit did not grant our petition for rehearing. The decision, however, will have no effect on our current or future customers because EchoStar’s engineers have developed and deployed ‘next-generation’ DVR software to our customers’ DVRs. This improved software is fully operational, has been automatically downloaded to current customers, and does not infringe the Tivo patent at issue in the Federal Circuit’s ruling.

“All DISH Network customers can continue to use their DVRs without any interruption or changes to the award-winning DVR features and services provided by DISH Network.

“We intend to appeal the Federal Circuit’s ruling to the United States Supreme Court.”

On digg here.

28 Replies to “Breaking News: Appeals Court Refuses to Hear Echostar Appeal, TiVo’s Patent Victory Stands”

  1. As a Dish Network customer, I’m hoping that what comes out of this is TiVo effectively forcing a deal down Echostar’s throat and me finally getting a HD TiVo unit.

    Even though I have an HDTV I’m stuck with SD as none of TiVo’s HD units work with Satellite boxes, my local cable company is TW and I’d rather go back to an antenna than pay them a dime.

    An HD “DishTiVo” would solve all my problems.

  2. That sucks! I like the Dish DVR, free and cheap every month ($6).

    Well is the TiVo for satellite?

  3. It would seem that when the appeals are exhausted, this would be a contract deal breaker for anyone wanting to flee Dish; that is of course unless Dish seamlessly provided a switch to TiVo boxes for it’s customers, provided of course there is a TiVo box for satellite systems and TiVo is willing to do business with Dish at all.

    What do you think?

  4. I have a Bell Express Vu hd dvr. It’s the dish equivalent hardware in Canada. I hope I’m not screwed.


  6. I am infuriated! We purchased a DVR from dish yesterday and now I hear this? What?

  7. The newer Dish DVRs, 622 and later, are not affected. They had already changed the software to get around the patent.

  8. This is a whole lot of nothing. Your Dish DVR will continue to work. Dish “pushed” new software about 3 months ago that does not violate TiVo patents. If you’re going to leave Dish, fine, but you’re leaving based on incorrect information.

  9. more proof that software patents are bullshit.

    tivo didn’t invent the idea of recording tv digitally and putting it on a hard drive.

    i’m seriously concerned that the idiots we have in control of the courts and patent office will be the demise of this country.

  10. Dish has had HD DVR for a long time. In fact, there DVR equipment and software has been voted as the best by C-Net several times. I had their HD DVR and two SD DVRs and have to say that it was FAR better than the crap I have from Comcast now. The Dish DVR had a MASSIVE HDD in it…I could record hours and hours of HD content and the thing never even approached being full – now they have an even larger HDD in the latest box. Also, everything abou the box was better, the speed, the software, everything.

    This news completely sucks. What was the patent, specifically?

  11. Thomas, you NEED to clarify your post ASAP and point out that this ruling has NO EFFECT on current Dish equipment. This applied only to older models that have not been used by Dish for some time. Your post is horribly misleading to a lot of people.

  12. Yikes, first time I’ve visited this blog and it will be the last. So much misinformation I don’t even know where to start…

    Suffice to say that Dish Network supports HD DVRs which in many ways are superior to TiVo units (only thing I miss is the cute UI and suggestions), they no longer infringe TiVo’s patent (as least on the VIP series) and they’ll continue to offer the service.

    For those of you on Cable TV, you should really make the comparison to Sat/DSL/FiOS. You will save $30-100/mo and don’t have to support shitheads like Comcast and TW.

  13. Dish says that their new equipment does not violate Tivo’s patent. Tivo says that it does and that Dish is simply lying to force the matter back into the courts and delay. The patent was based on a concept already in place and too obvious to be patented.

    All I know is that if the Tivo clowns think that I’ll go to DirecTV or a Tivo box if they shut down Dish DVR, they’re wrong. I’ll go back to my VCR or buy a DVD recorder first. Tivo can go rot.

  14. Amen brother. I feel sorry for the people on cable and their high bills. I love setting with my kids and watching prerecorded stuff, recording movies to watch later. I donít have a problem with skipping the crappy commercials and watching the thoughtful or funny ones. Suing as a business model does not work. Corporations that op for the lawyer rather than innovation are destined to fail in the long run. Iíll build an open source system before buying something from these folks and so will lots of others. Keep fighting for us Mr. Dish. This site is full of a lot of misinformation.

  15. It’s sad to see Tivo characterized so poorly by so many. You say the patent covers somethign self-evident, but perhaps you don’t remember the state of things when the Tivo came around. DVDs were still novel, NO ONE had consumer HDD recorders in their homes and Tivo, a tiny start-up came around and changed that. Almost immediately they were screwed over and attacked by the larger megalithic corporations (for example, echostar) who did everything — including stealing their technology — to stop this tiny company from starting a revolution before they could get their piece.

    Flash forward almost a decade and tivo is /finally/ winning, only everyone seems to have forgotten that they’re the hero in this story. Why? Because you happen to be a patron of the mega-corp they took on? That’s absurd.

    Tivo didn’t “win” — They just finally saw justice done. This is an example of patent /finally/ being used the way it should be (to foster innovation and protect the innovators), but none of you care. Why? Because you’re afraid you’ll need to shell out money for a tivo box? Relax. That ain’t gonna happen anyway.

  16. Thanks to anon (12:15 pm) for speaking the truth. I don’t have a TiVo but I can’t imagine how anyone could hate them. They were the first ones to take a financial risk for DVR.

  17. The issue here is one being played out many times over. patents are not intended to protect you from someone doing business like you do, and software patents are the worst. Think about the stupidity of some patents if applied to things in the early 1900’s

    We have patents that say things like, “a system that lists the customers in the order they clicked and serves them in that order providing up to date information on the approximate wait time to each customer.”

    That may sound ridiculous, but there are NUMEROUS patents for ideas just as novel (one click purchasing anyone)

    Given my above example, Lines and Queues effectively have been patented…kinda like the patent that has Netflix Queues as infringing. Someone patented the idea of you putting things you want on a list, and providing them to you in that order….software patents are BAD.

    BUSINESS MODEL patents are bogus corporate greed, nothing more

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    Mike James

  18. Looks like you posted this a little too soon. Anyone familiar with the court system knows– or should have known before posting something so stupid as saying that DISH customer’s DVRs will likely be shut off soon– that the appeal process isn’t complete. Why don’t you try getting all of the facts right/researching before posting something like this? Sure, you got this on Digg – but you look like a moron now that you’ve needed to take back that customers are screwed when, in fact, they’re not.

    This is the first time I’ve visited your blog and I’m certain it will be the last. I sure hope no one is actually relying on your blog in the belief that you offer factual information.

    From my experience with DISH (significant first hand work in the satellite world and with DISH), this will go on for a while. Anyone who knows Charlie (CEO) knows he’s litigious and will fight with everything he’s got to attempt to win in any court case. It’s what he does.

    For those of you who are with DISH and think you’re screwed because of this jump-the-gun post, think again: DISH may have to pay up to TiVo, but the DVRs are not going to be shut off. As mentioned in a previous post, the new software pushed by DISH does not violate the patents held by TiVo. And remember: DISH was ONLY found in violation of the software claims, NOT the hardware claims.

    So now, go sit back and relax and continue watching your commercial free recordings.

  19. I disagree with TiVo being a hero in this. They started it but they should have went to Dish and DirectTV and even local cable companies and sold this technology to them rather then make their own boxes. Right from the start they should have done this.

    Port your technology into other hardware/software and that is where you get the big money and you make their product desirable because of it.

    Instead Tivo let Dish reverse engineer this and they lose out and have to go to court for 10 years while Dish makes $$ and probably will win in the long run.

  20. The court injunction against Dish went into effect on 4/18/2008. They now have 30 days to disable their DVR’s.

    A few weeks ago Dish was denied a rehearing based on the “new software”

    The injunction is now in full force and will gain more strength 30 days from April 18, 2008.

    If Dish refuses to disable their units then they will immediately be found to be in contempt of the court ruling and heavy fines will be imposed by the court. Probably somewhere around 700,000 per day for each day of infringement.

  21. Okay so as i understand this even us with a 501,508 or a 510 will not be affected for a good while at least or no at all correct?

  22. Too bad everyone is trying to screw Dish Network. They are getting sued, losing court cases, and at the same time, dealing with potential financial problems also. Senseless.

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