Satellite TV has been putting a dent in the profits enjoyed by traditional cable TV companies by offering consumers more choices. Consumers around the country use Dish Network as an alternative to cable TV in their homes.
Along with satellite TV, DVRs are a very common item in homes around the country. One of the early DVR firms was TiVo. TiVo and EchoStar have been embroiled in a long-running patent infringement suit that alleges that Dish Network (formerly EchoStar) knowingly infringed on patents held by TiVo for DVR technologies.
A federal judge in Texas awarded TiVo nearly $190 million in damages yesterday in the long running dispute. Reuters reports that U.S. District Judge David Folsom ordered EchoStar to disable a feature in about 193,000 DVRs it has in use in homes around the country that was found to infringe TiVo patents.
Folson also found that a workaround EchoStar implemented to get around a previous patent dispute over DVR functionality on Dish Network receivers infringed upon TiVo patents. The court set a date of June 26 for an additional hearing on potential sanctions against EchoStar.
Judge Folsom granted TiVo a $73.9 million ruling plus $15.7 million in interest on patent infringement claims. TiVo was also awarded an additional $103.1 million in damages plus interest accumulated during the stay of the injunction.
Since a previous EchoStar workaround was found to infringe on TiVo patents, the court ordered that Dish Network must inform the court before it tries to implement another workaround for the patent it infringed.
TiVo issued a statement 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. In addition, the Court's award of an additional $103 million plus interest through April 2008 makes this victory all the more important. 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."
Dish and EchoStar say that the court's decision will be appealed and it will file a motion to stay the order with a federal appeals court.