US Supreme Court Refuses EchoStar Appeal of DVR Ruling

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal brought by EchoStar Satellite over a 2006 jury decision awarding US$73.9 million to rival TiVo in a patent infringement case.

The Supreme Court decision Monday means that EchoStar and parent company Dish Network have no more opportunities to appeal the jury award. Dish Network will pay TiVo $104 million, the jury award plus interest, within a few days, Dish Network said in a statement. That money is in an escrow account.

TiVo filed a lawsuit against EchoStar in 2004, claiming the satellite-television service provider infringed on a TiVo DVR (digital video recorder) patent. TiVo accused EchoStar of infringing its Multimedia Time Warping System, which allows viewers to rewind or pause television broadcasts in progress, when building its own DVR.

TiVo sued EchoStar in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, a court that handles many patent cases. Critics of the U.S. patent system have suggested juries in the district are friendly to patent holders. The jury ruled against EchoStar in September 2006, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit later upheld the decision.

TiVo, in a statement, said it was "extremely pleased" with the Supreme Court's decision.

"We look forward to the expeditious receipt of damages awarded by the district court ... 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," TiVo said.

TiVo continues to insist that new software in Dish DVRs still infringes its patent. TiVo has asked the district court in Texas to rule against EchoStar and hold the company in contempt of an earlier ruling requiring it to disable infringing technology in its DVRs.

EchoStar said the Supreme Court's decision was "expected."

The company has a software package "design-around" that does not infringe on the TiVo patent, EchoStar said in a statement. That software is now installed on Dish DVRs, it said.

"We believe that the design-around does not infringe TiVo's patent and that TiVo's pending motion for contempt should be denied," EchoStar said.

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