DirecTV, Dish Settle Keyword Suit

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EchoStar Communications and DirecTV settled their litigation over search-engine keywords in an agreement that dismisses their dueling lawsuits over the issue.

The two direct-broadcast satellite companies had been suing each other -- in a dispute revolving around alleged trademark infringement -- over words they purchased from search engines like Google to promote their services.

DirecTV had actions pending in California against EchoStar and several retailers of its Dish Network service. Rupert Murdoch’s DirecTV claimed that Charlie Ergen’s EchoStar had unlawfully purchased rights to keywords that were similar to, or variations, of, “DirecTV.”

In response, last November, EchoStar filed suit against DirecTV in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York. In its lawsuit, EchoStar said the keywords it and its retailers purchased constituted legal comparative advertising.

Last Friday, District Court Judge Barbara Jones in New York approved a stipulation filed by EchoStar and DirecTV saying that they had reached a confidential settlement. As part of that agreement, EchoStar withdrew its claims in that venue and its suit was dismissed.

DirecTV’s pending litigation against EchoStar retailers in California was also apparently dismissed pursuant to the confidential settlement.

Last Thursday, DirecTV entered a stipulation dismissing its trademark-infringement suit against EchoStar, as well as Dish retailers AllSat and iSatellite, in the U.S. District Court of the Central District of California.

A DirecTV suit against DishPronto was also set to be dismissed this week.

Officials at EchoStar and DirecTV couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.

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