Dish Loses Appeal Bid In TiVo Case


In the latest round of bad news for Charlie Ergen, the U.S. Supreme Court Monday rejected EchoStar Communications’ appeal of a $74 million jury verdict that TiVo won against it for patent violations relating to DVRs. 

The nation’s highest court denied EchoStar’s petition for certiorari, or request for review, without comment. Back in 2006, a jury in Texas awarded TiVo $74 million in damages in a patent infringement the company had lodged against EchoStar Communications. EchoStar Communications split into two companies earlier this year, Dish Network and EchoStar.

With interest, that award to TiVo has now ballooned to $104 million.

"We look forward to the expeditious receipt of damages awarded by the District Court covering the period through Sept. 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," TiVo said in a statement Monday.

A District Court has told EchoStar that it would have to disable the DVR functionality on customers set-tops out in the field that employ the TiVo technology, but Dish Network CEO Ergen has told analysts that the software on those set-tops has been switched out, and no longer infringes on TiVo’s patents. Dish Network repeated that assertion Monday, although TiVo alleges that the satellite company is in contempt of that order. In September, a judge held off on making a decision on that contempt order.

“As expected, the Supreme Court denied our petition for certiorari today,” Dish Network and EchoStar said in a joint 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.”

Dish Network and EchoStar said they will soon be making payment to TiVo.   

“Because of the Supreme Court’s decision, we will pay TiVo approximately $104 million (the amount the jury awarded in 2006 plus interest),” the satellite companies said. “The money is in an escrow account and will be released to TiVo in the next few days.”

The U.S. Supreme Court’s action Monday was more bad news for Dish. In late September, AT&T decided to move forward with DirecTV as its reselling partner, rather than Dish Network.