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Supreme Court Denies Dish Appeal In Patent Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied an appeal by satellite operator Dish Network to overturn a lower court’s ruling that its digital video recorder (DVR) set-tops infringed on a “time-warp” patent held by DVR pioneer TiVo.

 As a result, Dish announced Monday that it will now pay TiVo roughly $104 million in damages, which represents the $94 million originally awarded by a Texas district court plus interest. Dish says the money is currently in an escrow account and will be released to TiVo in the next few days.

 That same Texas court had also placed an injunction against the use of Dish DVRs that it found infringed the TiVo patent. But Dish and EchoStar Corp., which supplies it with set-top boxes and satellite capacity, say they have engineered a software workaround that doesn’t infringe TiVo’s patent. The two companies also say that another legal motion filed by TiVo, a motion of contempt against Dish, should be denied.

 “As expected, the Supreme Court denied our petition for certiorari today,” said Dish and EchoStar in a statement. “The Supreme Court’s decision, however, does not impact our software design-around, which has been placed in DISH DVRs subject to the district court’s injunction, and our customers can continue using their DISH DVRs. We believe that the design-around does not infringe Tivo’s patent and that Tivo’s pending motion for contempt should be denied. We look forward to that ruling in the near future.”

 Not surprisingly, TiVo issued a statement applauding the Supreme Court’s ruling. The company says it is also confident that it will prevail in its still-ongoing litigation.

 "We are extremely pleased that the United States Supreme Court has denied EchoStar's petition to review the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit unanimous ruling that upheld the District Court judgment of willful patent infringement, full award of damages, and a permanent injunction against EchoStar's infringing DVR products,” said Tivo. “We look forward to the expeditious receipt of damages awarded by the District Court covering the period through September 8, 2006 and remain confident that the District Court will enforce the injunction and award further damages from EchoStar's continued infringement of our Time Warp patent."