Print 22 comment(s) - last by Micah.. on Aug 21 at 1:44 PM

TiVo wins patent rights

In a ruling by US District Judge David Folsom, EchoStar has been ordered to disable most if not all DVR units being used by its subscribers. The ruling is based on the finding that EchoStar willingly infringed on patents owned by TiVo. DailyTech previously reported that TiVo took EchoStar to court over patent infringements. Judge Folsom is also ordering EchoStar to pay TiVo for damages and for money it should have been paying to TiVo all this time.

In a clear winning for TiVo, EchoStar will be paying TiVo nearly $90 million. About $5.4 million will be in interest payment alone and $10.3 million in supplemental damages. The rest of the payment is for the actual infringement.

EchoStar has been given a 30-day limit in which to disable the DVRs that customers are using. According to the report, EchoStar said that TiVo wasn't actually being damaged by anything EchoStar was doing because the lawsuit was only brought up several years after EchoStar began using DVRs. EchoStar also said that TiVo did not sue it earlier because it was trying to cut a business deal with EchoStar.

Despite claims that its business will suffer because of the injunction, Judge Folsom argued otherwise. "Although the injunction will likely result in some degree of customer loss and will impact EchoStar's ability to compete in the market, EchoStar will not be irreparably harmed," Folsom said.

TiVo is currently waiting on its business agreement with Comcast to kick into action later this year. The DVR pioneer is also claims that its Series3 dual CableCARD DVR is scheduled to debut soon as well.

Update 08/18/2006: Today EchoStar made a statement that the Federal Circuit Cout of Appeals has temporarily blocked the injunction while it considers a long-term stay of that injunction.

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Echostar got a stay
By viperpa on 8/18/2006 2:17:40 PM , Rating: 2
Echostar was able to get a stay on the judges order this morning pending an appeal. So Echostar will not have to disable any of the DVR's. Which is a good thing cause this would hurt Echostar big time.

RE: Echostar got a stay
By johnnyMon on 8/18/2006 4:26:31 PM , Rating: 1
But it would help TiVo, which is much more important than hurting EchoStar. Unless you're happy with crappy DVRs, TiVo has to survive. If you've owned one and have seen the alternatives, you know exactly what I mean. (If you haven't, I can sum it up this way: once you've had TiVo, the others pretty much suck.)

RE: Echostar got a stay
By Bluestealth on 8/18/2006 4:44:20 PM , Rating: 2
I'll stick with my computer based DVR and lifetime subscription to guide data for a one time payment thank you.
Tivo isnt THAT much better or versatile for the cost. However a lot of DBS/Cable Terminals arn't that great at being DVRs so your argument holds there.

RE: Echostar got a stay
By johnnyMon on 8/18/2006 4:52:45 PM , Rating: 2
Forgot about computer-based DVRs, sorry about that. Thanks for pointing it out. :)

My comments were limited to TiVo vs. non-TiVo DVRs provided by satellite and cable companies, as well as standalone TiVo vs. other standalone units.

RE: Echostar got a stay
By abhaxus on 8/19/2006 1:03:30 AM , Rating: 2
I like my comcast DVR more than Tivo most of the time. I consider Tivo to be the Mac of DVRs... it spoonfeeds you everything. The interface is not terribly intuitive for what I want it to do (that is, be able to scroll rapidly through the channels and see how much time is remaining in current programs). However, the actual Tivo branded boxes (including the directv hd tivo) seem to have fewer hardware issues than the comcast boxes I've had, and I especially enjoy how easy it is to change resolutions on the tivo box we use at work to match the incoming signal. That is more of a directv feature than a Tivo feature, I suppose.

I just don't see what the big deal is with Tivo. All my DVR needs to do is record what I tell it to. Not random things I don't really want. I'm especially not going to pay hundreds of dollars extra to be able to get tivo when hard drive prices are dropping the way they are.

RE: Echostar got a stay
By Wolfpup on 8/20/2006 12:27:05 AM , Rating: 2
And Tivo DOES record what you tell it to better than anything else. And if it can't, you can look up in the log and find out why too.

The two things you mention-scrolling rapidly through channels, and knowing how much time is left in a show-are completly irrelevant if your DVR is doing it's job. You shouldn't have any need to do either.

RE: Echostar got a stay
By abhaxus on 8/20/2006 1:09:40 AM , Rating: 2
There are plenty of things that I want to watch that I don't want recorded. Even with a 160gb DVR I would not be able to record everything that was on HD that I had a 20% chance of watching. I want my DVR to record maybe 8-9 "can't miss" shows during the week. I also want my tuner/dvr to be able to rapidly scroll through currently showing programming to see what is worth my time watching. I hate nothing more than getting on a TV and seeing something on and not seeing when it started/is ending. I use both (the comcast DVR and a directv HD tivo) on a daily basis. I like the comcast DVR much more 90% of the time. It is also able to rapidly advance through a recorded program, much faster than the Tivo is, thanks to the "advance" function that is available to harmony owners :)

RE: Echostar got a stay
By h0kiez on 8/21/2006 11:07:06 AM , Rating: 2
What "advance" function? I have a Motorola HD DVR from Comcast and a Harmony 880...I've heard of a couple of hacks, but nothing specific to the Harmony. Care to elaborate?

By VooDooAddict on 8/18/2006 5:11:35 PM , Rating: 3
I think this would have destroyed EchoStar's customer base if they were required to disable customer DVRs. Including class action suits form customers if they weren't given a no-cost option to get out of existing contracts. "No sir you can't use the DVR that's the

Obviously this is bad for EchoStar however you slice it...

Suits like this and the Blackberry Patent suit should have statutes of limitation on them. Patent holders should not be allowed to wait to see if a competing product is successful before perusing litigation. This limitation alone would help alleviate much of the patent warfare that is negatively effecting so many 3rd party citizens, corporations, and even government agencies.

Hmm, if I was a film student I'd probably make a documentary about the absurdity of letting this practice continue. It's actually stifling technological growth... not protecting it as patents were originally intended.

By Seymourbbuts on 8/18/2006 7:39:35 PM , Rating: 2
Suits like this and the Blackberry Patent suit should have statutes of limitation on them. Patent holders should not be allowed to wait to see if a competing product is successful before perusing litigation. This limitation alone would help alleviate much of the patent warfare that is negatively effecting so many 3rd party citizens, corporations, and even government agencies.

It would definitely put an end to the Rambus law suits.

By Wolfpup on 8/20/2006 12:28:38 AM , Rating: 2
Tivo is a small company that dosen't have money to pursue everything. In this case, the patent law is doing exactly what it's supposed to be doing-protecting the little guy. In this particular case at least, what you're suggesting is that the law be changed so Echostar can steal from Tivo.

By h0kiez on 8/21/2006 11:09:33 AM , Rating: 2
Pursuing things like this requires MILLIONS of dollars. No fledgeling company can afford to pursue this sort of thing all the time. Also, the way things work now, there is added incentive for a company (Echostar) to NOT infringe on someone else's patents, knowing that it will eventually be very expensive. The laws are working perfectly in this case.

DVR or time-shifting
By jpthatsright on 8/18/2006 9:25:01 PM , Rating: 2
Are they talking about totally disabling the DVR or just the time shifting cappabilities. I recently upgraded to a Dual-Tuner DVR through my satillite provider. I could live without the ability pause and skip forward or backward, but if I lose the ability to record programs I'll be upset to say the least. If they disable the DVR altogether it would be bad. How long before TIVO goes after the home built PC/DVR users. Or the software vendors/programmers for those systems?

RE: DVR or time-shifting
By Wolfpup on 8/20/2006 12:32:52 AM , Rating: 2
Geez there's a lot of mis-information in this whole thread. Echostar's DVRs specifically rip off Tivo technology-in fact they got to play with the technology under false pretenses, and then implemented it in their DVR.
It dosen't affect computers (any solutions that I know of).

And in response to the posts about "free" guide data-there is no such thing. In the case of Microsoft, they can afford to subsidize the guide data. In many Linux or PC solutions, they're basically stealing the guide data. Tivo can't do either.

I have one
By L33tMasta on 8/18/2006 2:13:46 PM , Rating: 2
I have one, and I'll be damned if they disable it =/

I have one
By Novaoblivion on 8/18/2006 6:16:23 PM , Rating: 2
If they disable my DVR I wont be very happy :(

Dish should buy Tivo
By Bytre on 8/18/2006 9:17:32 PM , Rating: 2
Tivo is worth ~$600 million. Dish is sitting on 2.7 billion in cash. They have plenty of resources to license the technology - or buy Tivo outright - if they are really at risk of having to turn off all their DVRs.

By ReblTeen84 on 8/18/2006 10:18:10 PM , Rating: 2
I dont see the point of paying a monthly fee to Tivo or dish (although i have cable). I'll stick with my $100 WinTV card that records everything i want it to in DVD format and doesnt cost me for the guide either.

No No No
By kaborka on 8/19/2006 12:55:22 PM , Rating: 2
If they kill my PVR501 I'll go postal! (No monthly DVR fee on the old models.)

By axemanxt40 on 8/20/2006 12:11:51 PM , Rating: 2
My parents have a Tivo DVR and when I got cablevision's digital IO cable I decided to get the DVR they provide with it.

For me that DVR was way superior to Tivo it was easy to use, takes up less space as it is just your cable box instead of 2 boxes and it is less money per month. Once I showed my Dad how well the Cablevision DVR worked he switched from Tivo to Cablevision DVR.

By Micah on 8/21/2006 1:44:13 PM , Rating: 2
Every time I see one of these reports, it makes me glad that I invested the countless hours and $$ in my MythTV box(es). I'd like to see someone try and shut them down.

Tivo - Best DVR? NO
By raldrich on 8/19/2006 12:28:42 AM , Rating: 1
I don't mean to start an argument, but I have used several brands of DVR and hands down (in my opinion), the Microsoft UTV is superior to TIVO. They stopped making them several years ago and they are STILL superior to all other PVRs!

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller
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