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Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

TiVo Gets Speedy Results In EchoStar Patent Trial

from the wasting-no-time-at-all dept

There's a reason that California-based TiVo filed its patent lawsuit against Colorado-based EchoStar in the small town of Marshall in East Texas. The US District Court there is positively famous for running through patent cases (and almost always giving the patent holder a win) in record time. The TiVo case appears to be no exception, with a quick verdict awarding TiVo $73.9 million for EchoStar's infringement of TiVo's patents. Of course, while some are making this out to be a big win for TiVo, it's quite likely that EchoStar will appeal -- and we doubt the higher level courts will run through the case quite so fast.

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  • identicon
    William Johnson III, 13 Apr 2006 @ 10:10pm

    Go TiVo

    How do you know you have a great idea? People copy it.

    I thought about starting a business based on the MythTV and Linux a year ago. Then I read that TiVo amassed a patent portfolio around the entire DVR concept.

    I vaguely remember that a senior executive said something to the likes of 'Anyone who wants to get into the DVR space (on linux) will have to talk to us'. I verified this, and they own a LOT of intellectual property.

    Seeing this, and that there really are not too many alternatives (read: Windows Media Center) I dropped the concept.

    I give a hearty Three-Cheers to TiVo. They invented the technology many years ago. (I even remember seeing Infomercials like 5 years ago) TiVo patented it, and they delivered it. Often imitated, but never substituted. TiVo is the American Dream, delivered...

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

    • identicon
      DittoBox, 14 Apr 2006 @ 8:54am

      Re: Go TiVo

      But they won't innovate, they're sitting on their monopoly, and they don't openly accept competition, but instead file lawsuits to try draw blood from stones.

      This is all besides the fact that TiVo is quickly and without regard for the customer bending over and taking it in the back side for networks.

      They record things in the middle of the night, submit my TV watching habits and my personal information to whoever they please and want to force me to watch ads while I fast forward or rewind.

      And they haven't released any new products in quite literally years. They keep promising new things but they've yet to deliver.

      Just like Microsoft, they had the right product at the right time, and now they've not done anything worth mentioning since. With a little competition and an open mind to that competition, instead of trying to put their thumb on top of them and then bowing down before the Network Gods we consumers would have a much better DVR product, and and the DVR companies would be making more money.

      Now, if someone would like to help me off this very tall soapbox I'd be grateful.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2006 @ 11:10pm

    so much for competition.

    Next thing you know they will sue Motorolla for selling the DVR cable boxes.

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

  • identicon
    Tin Ear, 14 Apr 2006 @ 8:40am

    Re: so much for competition.

    I'm no patent attorney, and I don't know the patent system, but aren't patents like this limited by a certain span of time? Somehow I remember that 12 years is a stipulation on most patents. That would mean that the original patent owner would have his chance to be the only source/producer of a particular idea, but that it would be available for other people to capitalize on when the patent lapsed.

    Granted, one person would have a monopoly for a while, but then the competition would be able to build something very similar that does the same thing...

    Has this changed? I don't know. As far as I'm concerned, a patent should have a 'limited run' of a short time then open up to competitors, thus inviting improvements and innovation.

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

  • identicon
    Andrew Schmitt, 14 Apr 2006 @ 11:09am

    Too much money can be paralyzing

    What DittoBox says has some truth... Tivo does need to agressively adopt one of two business models- not just vascillate in between. Either they need to be a cable box software company and promise to do as the cablecos and video telcos demand (i.e. not compete with them) or they need to go on an innovation rampage and enable stored video content distrubution. The last thing they should do is adopt the terrorist strategies advocated and pursued by folks like Rambus.

    Too much cash can allow tough decisions to be deferred. I'm afraid that might happen.

    I wrote more on this at my blog.

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

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