Video services

PTO Affirms TiVo's 'Time Warp'

5:50 PM -- The TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO)-Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) DVR patent roller coaster took yet another turn today, with the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) affirming the validity of TiVo's "Time Warp" patent.

Last year, the PTO announced it would reexamine the patent, a move that came after the US Supreme Court shot down Dish's appeal. (See EchoStar, TiVo Play Patent Ping Pong and High Court Denies Dish.)

The PTO affirmation is important because TiVo's Time Warp patent is linked to another proceeding centered on Dish's purported DVR software workaround. Depending on how that case turns out, Dish could be forced to disable more than 8 million DVR-based receivers. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is giving the matter a rare en banc review, which will determine whether to uphold and enforce the an earlier injunction against Dish. (See TiVo Shares Dive on Court Decision.)

TiVo's stock has risen and fallen depending on which end of the stick it's been getting throughout this protracted legal battle, and today was no different. The news was positive, so, as one might expect, TiVo's stock went skyward -- closing up 9.68 percent (89 cents), to $10.08 each, hitting a high of $11.20 during the day's trading.

TiVo, in another customary moment, said it was "pleased" with the PTO's decision, noting that it's not appeal-able.

"Today's decision further validates our IP [intellectual property] and brings us closer to ending EchoStar's ongoing infringement," TiVo said, referring to Charlie Ergen's technology and set-top spinoff, and not his satellite-TV service operation.

Dish is holding comment until after it can analyze the PTO's decision. Dish shares closed Wednesday down 53 cents, or 2.70 percent, to $19.10 each.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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