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Broadcast & Satellite

Tivo loses patent office ruling

Wednesday 9 June 2010 | 10:00 CET | News
Tivo has lost a ruling from the US Patent and Trademark Office over validity of patents for its time-shift TV technology. The ruling comes after a second re-examination of the patents by the PTO, following challenges from pay-TV providers Dish and Echostar. A separate review of the patent infringement case brought by the companies is still pending. This has leaned heavily in TiVo's favor and could still lead to the satellite companies paying damages to the set-top box maker. But the PTO ruling could have ramifications for TiVo's case against AT&T and Verizon Communications over their DVR services. A jury in 2006 found Dish and EchoStar liable for infringing TiVo's DVR patent when they began making their own set-top boxes. The companies are going through a process called an en banc review to establish the legal ramifications of the decision, but most analysts believe TiVo will eventually emerge victorious, the Wall Street Journal writes. A federal judge imposed contempt sanctions last year after finding that a technological redesign developed by EchoStar and Dish still infringed TiVo's patent. The companies had argued their alternative removed all the DVR features that TiVo had accused of infringement. The en banc review will determine if the injunction and finding of contempt by both the district court judge and appeals court were appropriate. A federal appeals court in March handed a key legal victory to TiVo, temporarily clearing the way for it to collect about USD 300 million from the two companies. But the panel last month said it would rehear the matter. Dish and EchoStar said in a statement Tuesday that the claims rejected by the patent office are the same as those pending before the appeals court. TiVo called the patent-office move "separate and apart" from the appeals court matter.

Categories: Broadcast & Satellite
Companies: AT&T / EchoStar / TiVo / Verizon
Countries: United States
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