EchoStar Wins Time to Keep DVRs Fully Operational

22 August 2006

US satellite TV operator EchoStar Communications has succeeded in temporarily blocking an injunction ordering it to disable some of the video equipment supplied to its customers, following a patent infringement lawsuit brought by DVR rival TiVo.

Texas Judge David Folsom ordered the disablement earlier this year [WAMN: 14-Apr-06]. He also decreed that EchoStar - operator of the Dish Network - pay $5.6 million (€4.5m; £3m) in interest and $10.3m in damages on top of $74m damages awarded by the jury.

If implemented, the Judge's injunction would require Dish Network to disable within thirty days more than three million DVRs supplied by EchoStar.

An appeals court, however, has granted a stay of execution on the injunction, although emphasizing it was not ruling on the merits of the case. The court said it needed more time to decide whether the order should be delayed until appeals can be heard.

The patent infringement action brought by DVR technology pioneer TiVo claims that it shared details of its technology with EchoStar, which later used that knowledge to manufacture its own equipment.

The defendant, with its 12.5m US subscribers, maintains it came up with its own technology which differs in a number of ways.

TiVo's name has become synonymous in the US with recording, pausing and rewinding live TV but the company has remained immersed in red ink since its inception in 1997.

Data sourced from Financial Times online; additional content by WARC staff