Dish Wants DVR Case Do-Over
Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) (formerly known as EchoStar Communications) filed a petition Monday with a federal appeals court to hear its patent case against digital video recording (DVR) pioneer TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO), claiming that the earlier ruling against EchoStar based its findings on inaccurate testimony from a TiVo witness.
TiVo shares climbed more than 30 percent in late January after an appeals court upheld its claim that Dish infringed on the DVR manufacturer's "Time Warp" patent, a decision that could put Dish on the hook for roughly $74 million in damages. (See TiVo Digs DVR Ruling .) The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington agreed with a Texas court's fining in 2006 that Dish infringed on TiVo's software patent. The appeals court also overturned a ruling that the satellite TV company infringed on hardware elements of the TiVo patent, but upheld the damages originally awarded to TiVo.
It's also been speculated that the January ruling could force Dish to license TiVo's technology. Dish has countered that the latest court decision would have no impact on its DVR customers, claiming its engineers had devised and deployed some "next generation" software that amounts to a patent workaround.
"This appeal was expected and we remain confident we will prevail in this appeal," TiVo said in a prepared statement issued Tuesday but did not specifically address Dish's claims about inaccurate testimony.
Cable still in the clear
So far, the cable industry has been able to steer clear of legal entitlements with TiVo. In fact, cable operators and TiVo have become rather chummy. Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Cox Communications Inc. already have deals in place to port and deploy TiVo's software on traditional digital cable set-tops. The cable industry is also working on a "Tuning Resolver" that will enable some legacy, one-way, stand-alone TiVo DVRs with CableCARD slots to access programming delivered via a cable operator's "switched" tier. (See Cox Tees Up TiVo Test Bed , Comcast Boots Up TiVo, Spotting TiVo , and CableLabs Issues Tuning Resolver Specs .)
Then, last November, it was revealed that the cable industry has agreed to tweak the OpenCable Platform (now known as tru2way) to ensure that the apps and interface of future CableCARD-based TiVo standalone boxes are preserved. In addition to running in "TiVo Mode," those boxes would also support the cable operator's set-top applications and native user interface when in "Cable Mode." (See TiVo à la Mode .)
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News