EchoStar, DirecTV Settle Search Spat

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The nation’s two main satellite-TV providers have resolved their bicoastal court battle over search-engine keywords.

EchoStar Communications and DirecTV reached an agreement that settles their litigation over each company’s purchase of keywords from search engines such as Google to promote their businesses, and dismisses their dueling lawsuits over the issue.

The two direct-broadcast satellite companies had been suing each other in a dispute revolving around trademark-infringement allegations over the keywords. 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.

On Feb. 2, 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 dismissed pursuant to the confidential settlement.

On Feb. 1, 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 last week.

Officials at EchoStar declined to comment last week, and DirecTV couldn’t be reached for comment.

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