Guess That Bull In Texas Was A Good Investment: EchoStar Agrees To Pay TiVo To Settle Patent Case

from the money-wasted dept

TiVo and EchoStar have been in a ridiculously long patent dispute over DVR patents that began years ago. TiVo won nearly all of the early rounds, but the tide turned a bit last year, though it looked like TiVo was going to get something out of this. Of course, all of this was happening while the Patent Office itself was expressing doubt about the patents in question.

The case is now over, with EchoStar agreeing to pay TiVo $500 million (significantly more than the initial jury award). Of course, some will use this to suggest EchoStar should have just paid up early on, and from a financial perspective, they're probably correct. But, really, this once again shows the ridiculousness of the patent system. Many millions of dollars were wasted on this lawsuit, and then a final massive transfer payment is made. All of that money could have gone towards actually innovating and building better products. What a waste.

Of course, this also brings to a close one of the more bizarre side notes to this story. Back when the district court case was being tried in East Texas, TiVo paid $10,000 to buy an award-winning bull in Marshall, Texas... which it renamed TiVo. Pretty much everyone suggests this was a really cynical ploy to influence the jury. I'm curious what ever happened to the bull?


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  1.  
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    Nom du Clavier (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 1:38pm

    Looking at the result

    The bull shat; the resulting outcome is bullshit.

    Now if only the manure ends up being used to fertilise ... oh never mind, this bullshit analogy clearly won't work as well as a car one.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2011 @ 2:06pm

    Like any award winning bull, it had two options, become steak, or become a gene factory.

     

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  3.  
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    Mr. Smarta**, May 2nd, 2011 @ 2:10pm

    Something to consider...

    So if aliens came down to Earth from some planet somewhere using technology they created but companies here on Earth patented, who sues whom??? Does that mean an advanced civilization from another planet can sue earthlings for all the patent infringment? If companies expect that in their case, then the aliens get to, also.

    Patents, copyrights, trademarks... It's all meaningless bulls*** anyway. Just another illusion to make people believe there's a weapon constantly hanging over their heads ready to swing down and destroy them.

    Share everything. And piss on those who try to stop us. We get stronger, while they get weaker.

     

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  4.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 2:19pm

    Re:

    If it's an award winning bull, it's certainly going to be put out to stud.

    So, TiVo will continue screwing everything it can in East Texas.

     

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  5.  
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    DogBreath, May 2nd, 2011 @ 2:25pm

    As to what happened to "TiVo"...

    I'm curious what ever happened to the bull?

    It was eaten by the TiVo lawyer:


    http://amlawdaily.typepad.com/amlawdaily/2009/06/new-ip-trial-strategy-10000-for-that-b ull.html



    Eastern Texas has plenty of livestock. And Marshall hosts an annual Farm City Week, which in March 2006 came just on the eve of the Tivo v. EchoStar trial. TiVo's local counsel, Samuel Baxter of McKool Smith (no relation to this writer), told Elinson that TiVo executives wondered whether they could buy a cow at auction "because the people have been so nice to us here."

    As Elinson writes, Baxter did that and more. At Farm City's main event, a livestock auction, the legendary Eastern District lawyer bid on a Grand Champion Steer and bought it for a record-breaking sum of $10,000. The steer was quickly christened TiVo. (According to the Recorder, the seller was a high school student from nearby Hallsville who kept the money for herself to use for college.)

    Perhaps finding the pastures in Silicon Valley to be lacking, Elinson reports that TiVo execs offered to return their namesake steer to its original owner. She declined given the tight quarters of her college dorm room.

    So where is TiVo the cow now? "We turn 'em into steaks and burgers," Baxter told Elinson. So it seems that TiVo, the bovine version, ended up in Baxter's belly.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2011 @ 2:35pm

    I figured steak, I didn't care to check and see if it was a county fair or what. When you see business's buy livestock at crazy prices (like $400 a chicken) at auctions it is usually for the prize winning animals a kid raised because it's how alot of those kids get money for college. It is common practice for the livestock to get purchased and returned to the owner.

     

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  7.  
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    Blatant Coward (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 2:36pm

    Re: As to what happened to "TiVo"...

    Apparently he was no Cow Tse Toungue. Or didn't have enough revolutionary veal.

     

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  8.  
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    Nom du Clavier (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 2:36pm

    Re: Re:

    So that's how you become a steakholder?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2011 @ 2:40pm

    It is definitely a good PR move, think of it more like giving a 10,000 scholarship. Which is definitely a good reason to raise an eyebrow for trying to influence the community for the trial.

     

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  10.  
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    DogBreath, May 2nd, 2011 @ 3:00pm

    Re: Re: As to what happened to "TiVo"...

    Probably not cowmmunist enough either. I hope they cooked him well, or someone might have come down with the trotskys.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2011 @ 3:04pm

    Re: Re: As to what happened to "TiVo"...

    loved that song.

    Cows With Guns...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Peter Dow (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 3:19pm

    Wasted $ ?

    While saying that the $500M is wasted money and does not get applied to innovation, it's probably not entirely accurate. Sure, a lot of the $ goes to the lawyers, and that's not contributing to innovation, but whatever amount gets to TiVo might actually be spent on R&D.

    However, I definitely agree with the overall idea -- patents these days are a hindrance to innovation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2011 @ 3:24pm

    Re: Re:

    They're going to pair it up with a cow named Dish.

     

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  14.  
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    abc gum, May 2nd, 2011 @ 5:53pm

    Re: Wasted $ ?

    "but whatever amount gets to TiVo might actually be spent on R&D."

    Yeah, they will "invent" another obvious idea.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    The eejit (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 11:38pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    PLease tell me the other null in this triangle is called Spoon.

     

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  16.  
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    staff, May 5th, 2011 @ 7:08am

    who is Masnick working for?

    "Patent Office itself was expressing doubt "

    The PTO grants reexams for 95% of requests. Even Masnick could cobble together a request to reexam the telephone patent. Who is the PTO working for? And while at it, who is Masnick working for?

     

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  17.  
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    patent litigation, May 9th, 2011 @ 1:00pm

    bosom buddies?

    One weird thing about the settlement proceedings in this patent litigation is the extent to which the parties -- recent adversaries -- gushed about each other in glowing terms afterwards. I'd guess some kind of partnership between the parties is in the offing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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