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Appeals Court Upholds Ruling for TiVo in Dish Suit

A federal appeals court Thursday upheld a ruling that Dish Network violated a key software-based digital video recorder patent owned by TiVo, and affirmed the judgment against the direct-broadcast satellite operator for $94 million in damages.

Dish said it planned to appeal the ruling affirming the jury-awarded damages.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., unanimously ruled in favor of TiVo on EchoStar's appeal of a district court patent-infringement decision with regard to software elements of TiVo’s patent. But it overturned the lower court’s ruling that Dish infringed on the hardware elements.

In a statement, TiVo said: "Today's ruling is confirmation of the value of TiVo's [intellectual property] portfolio, which is in addition to the other benefits TiVo has to offer. TiVo can now continue to focus on its goal to drive greater distribution in both its stand alone and mass distribution efforts."

Dish, which changed its official name from EchoStar Communications last month, said the decision “will 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 company’s updated DVR software -- which Dish said does not infringe on the TiVo patent in question -- is fully operational and was automatically downloaded to current customers several months ago.

TiVo sued EchoStar in 2004, alleging the satellite operator infringed its so-called “Time Warp” patent that lets users watch one TV program while recording another.

In August 2006, a U.S. District Court judge in Texas awarded TiVo a judgment in the case against EchoStar, which was ordered to pay the DVR company $89.6 million in damages.

Last November, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office essentially confirmed the validity of the Time Warp patent for the simultaneous recording and viewing of TV channels. EchoStar had asked the patent office to re-examine TiVo’s Time Warp patent in 2005.