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EchoStar, TiVo Patent Spat Continues

Englewood, Colo. — Dish Network and EchoStar on Tuesday celebrated a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) decision to re-examine long-contested patent infringement claims over TiVo DVR software technology.

But TiVo quickly dismissed the USPTO decision as a routine step that will ultimately be ruled in favor of its Time Warp technology patent.

The battle over the intellectual property claims have raged on for years between the two companies, with TiVo claiming rights to the system that allows DVR viewers to record one television program while watching another.

In a statement on the move, EchoStar said, “We are pleased that the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) granted our Petition for Re-Examination of the software claims of Tivo’s ‘389 patent, which are the subject of Tivo’s current motion for contempt. The PTO found that there is a ‘substantial new question’ of patentability as to the software claims in light of prior patents that appear to render TiVo’s ‘389 patent invalid as obvious.”

TiVo countered by saying: “EchoStar filed its latest request for reexamination after TiVo asked the United States District Court to hold EchoStar in contempt of the Court’s injunction requiring EchoStar to disable its DVR functionality. An evidentiary hearing on the contempt issues is scheduled to be held on Feb. 17 and 18, 2009.

“EchoStar’s latest tactic follows numerous failed attempts to invalidate TiVo’s groundbreaking Time Warp patent … EchoStar’s latest request for reexamination is based on a combination of two prior art references that were both already submitted to the USPTO in connection with the earlier reexamination. The USPTO grants most patent reexamination requests. Contrary to EchoStar’s statement, the USPTO made no substantive findings. We are confident that the USPTO will once again confirm the validity of all of the claims of the Time

Warp patent.”