Texarkana, Texas — EchoStar and Dish Network were dealt a major blow Tuesday when a Federal District Court judge for the Eastern District of Texas awarded DVR-manufacturer TiVo an additional $103 million in damages plus interest on a long-running patent infringement suit with the satellite TV companies.
In addition, the court ruled that Dish’s workaround, which was implemented to avoid TiVo’s proprietary elements, still violated TiVo’s technology. EchoStar was barred from using it, leaving thousands of Dish Network PVR customers at risk of losing their recorder functionality.
In a statement on the ruling, the representatives of EchoStar and its sister company Dish Network said: “We are disappointed in the District Court’s decision finding us in contempt. Dish Network will appeal and will file a motion to stay the order with the Federal Circuit. We believe a stay is warranted and that we have strong grounds for appeal.
“Our engineers spent close to a year designing around TiVo’s patent and removed the very features that TiVo said infringed at trial. Existing Dish Network customers with DVRs are not immediately impacted by these recent developments.”
TiVo reacted to Tuesday’s ruling by saying: “We are extremely gratified by the court’s well reasoned and thorough decision, in which it rejected EchoStar’s attempted workaround claim regarding the TiVo patent, found EchoStar to be in contempt of court, and ordered the permanent injunction fully enforced.
“EchoStar may attempt to further delay this case, but we are very pleased the court has made it clear that there are major ramifications for continued infringement,” TiVo added.
Most industry analysts covering EchoStar and Dish Network said they expect the satellite concerns will be forced to quickly reach a settlement with the DVR company.
EchoStar has already paid TiVo a total of $104 million in damages and lost profits as the result of a 2006 jury award for infringing on patents for DVR technology.