updated 07:20 pm EDT, Wed October 6, 2010
USPTO says TiVo patents valid, defeats EchoStar
TiVo today won a potentially final victory in its legal action against EchoStar after the US Patent and Trademark Office ruled that its patents were valid. The decision gives TiVo ownership of the "time warp" feature inherent to its DVRs and can't be appealed by EchoStar, which runs the satellite TV provider Dish Network. The USPTO decision could lead a federal appeals court to enforce a ban against Dish DVRs and a $300 million fine that had been overturned in May.
EchoStar had been found to be infringing on patents as early as 2006, when it was accused of copying TiVo's technology for its own DVRs. Recorders eventually came that had a workaround, but TiVo insisted that they still infringed and argued that EchoStar was in contempt for ignoring the ruling.
Representatives from EchoStar haven't commented on the finding or what the company plans to do in reaction to the patent decision, but without an appeal on the patent itself it may have little choice but to redesign hardware or reach a royalty deal with TiVo.