TiVo to DISH: Let's Do the Time Warp Again

Published on September 4, 2009
by John Paczkowski

timewarpIt’s not the $974.5 million TiVo had been looking for, but the $200 million in sanctions against EchoStar’s DISH Network the company has been awarded isn’t exactly petty cash, either. On Friday, a U.S. District Court judge for the Eastern District of Texas ordered the satellite broadcaster to cough up that sum for its continued infringement of TiVo’s “multimedia time warping system” patent. This in addition to the $192.7 million EchoStar was ordered to pay for violating that same patent up to April 2008.

You see, DISH, though it had been barred from shipping DVRs with the patent-infringing functionality, continued to do so, justifying its behavior by claiming it had implemented a noninfringing workaround. But in June of this year, a court found that not to be the case. The court again reprimanded EchoStar (SATS) and ordered the company to pay TiVo (TIVO) $103 million in additional fines for the violations that occurred during the time in which the “workaround” was implemented. And now, it has added another $200 million to that.

TiVo, as one might imagine, was overjoyed by the ruling, which leaves open the possibility of further sanctions if EchoStar does not abide by the injunction.

“We are pleased by the Court’s ruling to impose contempt sanctions of approximately $200 million against EchoStar for its continued violation of a Court-ordered permanent injunction, and to award TiVo its attorney fees and costs incurred during the contempt proceedings,” the company said in a statement. “This brings total damages and sanctions in this case to approximately $400 million through July 1, 2009, plus attorney fees, and is exclusive of potential further damages and sanctions. Additionally, we are pleased that the Court ‘will seriously entertain the award of enhanced sanctions’ if ‘EchoStar is unsuccessful on appeal and nevertheless continues to disregard this Court’s orders.'”

Who knows, if DISH keeps it up, TiVo may get that $974.5 million yet.

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