Gemstar TV Guide International may be on a campaign to make legal nice,
but it did suffer a defeat today in a patent suit tangle with EchoStar
Communications Corp. over electronic programming guide technology.
A U.S. District Court judge in Atlanta granted EchoStar's motion for summary
judgment against Gemstar subsidiary Gemstar Development Corp., finding that
Gemstar did not have the standing to enforce the patent.
EchoStar filed suit against Gemstar in December 2000, charging that the media
and interactive programming guide provider had violated federal and state
Gemstar returned the favor, filing a countersuit claiming EchoStar had
infringed on two patents covering electronic programming guide technology.
In today's ruling, the judge sided with EchoStar's argument that Gemstar did
not own US Patent No. 4,908,713, and it denied Gemstar's motion to amend its
filings to correct the ownership issue.
The EchoStar antitrust suit, meanwhile, is headed for trial some time in
It isn't the first time the two have battled over IPG patents.
Last year, Gemstar traded motions with EchoStar in two cases involving six
patents. In those cases, the International Trade Commission and the U.S.
District Court's Western District of North Carolina ruled EchoStar had not
infringed on the patents.
But that may not be the final word. In a statement issued today, Gemstar said
it was disappointed in the court's ruling and maintained it does have the
ownership rights to enforce the patent against EchoStar and others.
"The Company intends to take appropriate steps to reinstate its claims
against EchoStar under the '713 patent," according to the