Cable Operators

Jury Rules for TiVo vs. Dish

4/14/2006 5:24 AM Eastern

TiVo Inc. will be able to use its $74 million patent-suit victory over EchoStar Communications Corp. as leverage to sell operators its digital-video-recorder system.

But even if others follow Comcast Corp., TiVo CEO Tom Rogers told Multichannel News last month that integration issues with TiVo -- which was hurt when the cable industry began selling its own DVRs and creating interoperability standards without TiVo at the table -- remain a challenge.

Thursday’s decision from a Texas U.S. District Court jury was nonetheless a huge score for TiVo, coming one day after it announced a three-year extension of its DirecTV Inc. contract.

TiVo said it will seek an injunction that could block EchoStar from selling its own DVRs.

“This is the first step in a very long process, and we are confident that we will ultimately prevail,” EchoStar said in a prepared statement.

“Among other things, we believe the patent -- as interpreted in this case -- is overly broad given the technology in existence when TiVo filed its patent,” the direct-broadcast satellite provider added. “We believe the decision will be reversed either through post-trial motions or on appeal. Additionally, the Patent Office is in the process of re-examining TiVo's patent, having determined that there is a substantial question concerning the validity of the patent.”

Comcast agreed last March to market a premium DVR service under the TiVo brand by the end of 2006.

March