Supreme Court Won’t Review TiVo-EchoStar

NEW YORK The United States Supreme Court has denied EchoStar’s petition to review a $74 million judgment against it and corporate sibling Dish Network for infringing on a TiVo DVR patent.

TiVo won its initial suit against EchoStar in April 2006, when a Federal District Court in Texas awarded it $32.7 million in lost profits and $41.3 million in royalties, after ruling that the satellite TV service violated TiVo’s “Time Warp” technology, a patented software that enables DVR users to record one program while watching another.

In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit unanimously upheld the earlier decision, although the higher court remanded a related hardware dispute to the discretion of the Texas court.

Today’s decision puts an end to a legal battle that began in 2004.

In a statement released Monday morning, TiVo said that it is “extremely pleased” with the Supreme Court’s decision: “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.” 

With interest, Dish is on the hook for approximately $104 million in damages. The company announced that the cash is in escrow and that it would be released to TiVo “in the next few days.”

While the initial ruling called for Dish to pull the plug on 3 million Broadcom DVRs it has deployed in the field, the satellite provider said that it has since implemented a software “design-around” that “does not infringe TiVo’s patent.”

Amid a Monday morning global sell-off that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average fall nearly 460 points, to 9865.74, TiVo’s share price rose 2.4 percent to $6.41, while Dish fell 5.3 percent to $17.80.

On Jan. 1, EchoStar split into two separate businesses: Dish Net and Echostar Corp. The former oversees the subscriber service, while the latter maintains the company’s satellite fleet.