ALVISO, California: A US federal appeals court last week upheld a ruling that EchoStar and its satellite TV unit Dish Network, illegally used software developed by DVR trailblazer TiVo.

The case was first brought by TiVo in 2004 and two years later a Texas district court found that EchoStar (which has since been split into the two separate companies) had infringed TiVo's software and hardware patents.

Although the hardware ruling was reversed by the appeals court last week, it nonetheless increased the amount of damages in TiVo's favor from the original $73 million (€49.7m; £37.2m) to $94m when including interest.

TiVo declared itself "extremely pleased" with the decision, while EchoStar claimed the ruling would "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".

The US patent office upheld TiVo's claims on its software patent in November 2007, and ceo Tom Rogers stated then that a favourable court ruling "would add a clear strength to our overall negotiating position in terms of distribution".

TiVo has recently partnered with Comcast to provide DVRs to some of its cable customers, and is expected to continue licensing out its technology as it seeks to expand its business by increasing distribution.

It is also expected to continue working with EchoStar in an effort to reach an agreement.


  • DVRs, fast-forwarding and ad attention
        Admap, September 2007
  • Digital Video Recorder usage in the UK

  •     WARC Report, December 2007

    Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff