TiVo Goes Dr. Evil On EchoStar: One BILL-ion Dollars, Please

from the make-this-end dept

TiVo and EchoStar (DISH) have been involved in a long and convoluted patent battle over basic DVR functionality. TiVo's certainly been winning. Personally, the whole thing is pretty ridiculous to me. The market is better served by competition, and having multiple players focusing on providing better DVR functionality (and, trust me, having used both their DVRs, they could both stand for some significant improvements) rather than spending money on lawyers. Either way, TiVo seems to be shooting for the moon with its latest demand that Dish pay up $1 billion dollars (Dr. Evil laughter inserted here), which is a lot more than the hundreds of millions most folks expected. One doubts they'll actually get that much -- the number is probably more of an effort to get EchoStar to just settle. But, if they do get numbers like that, you have to admit that buying that cow in Texas was a great investment.


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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 6:38pm

    For Frak's sake

    Because nobody would have come up with a *digital* version of a VCR otherwise? (Can you even wrap your head around that concept?)

    We have arrived at Idiocracy.

     

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    Mike, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 7:39pm

    Tivo and DISH both suck.

     

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    Toast, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 7:40pm

    Really?

    "Personally, the whole thing is pretty ridiculous to me."

    Maybe because you didn't spend the R&D to make it?

     

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    Dr. Evil, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 7:41pm

    Our early attempts at a DVR went through several preparations. Preparations A through G were a complete failure. But now, ladies and gentlemen, we finally have a working DVR, which we shall call... Preparation H.

     

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      Esahc (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:17pm

      Re:

      +1 LMAO

       

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:22pm

      Re:

      "Our early attempts at a DVR went through several preparations. Preparations A through G were a complete failure. But now, ladies and gentlemen, we finally have a working DVR, which we shall call... Preparation H."

      Why didn't you just call it Preparation Ass stream, ass?

      But I agree...preparation DOES feel good...on the whole.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 3:46am

        Re: Re:

        If you wernt full of "ass stream" and if you actually understood the joke itself, youd know that it actually reads

        Why don't you just call it operation ass-cream, you ass.

        Because Preperation H is an ass cream. You get the joke now?

        Good, im glad.

        Try harder next time.

         

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          Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 9:42am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "If you wernt full of "ass stream" and if you actually understood the joke itself, youd know that it actually reads

          Why don't you just call it operation ass-cream, you ass.

          Because Preperation H is an ass cream. You get the joke now?

          Good, im glad.

          Try harder next time."

          Yes, I was trying to relate it to something tech related, since, you know, that's what this site is about. Holy comprehension failure, Batman!

           

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      Scott, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 10:44pm

      Re:

      On the (w)hole, I say it(DVRs) is very effective.

       

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    CleverName, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 7:44pm

    What's that saying ... oh yeah.
    Those who can not compete, litigate.

     

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    NullOp, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:25pm

    DVR

    These people need a good ole fashioned ass whipping!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 11:46pm

    Anyone with a Television Tuner adapter can use their own computer as :gasp: DVR. This technology is nothing special. All these lawsuits do is slow innovation, which will more then likely pass BOTH these companies up within a few years.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 6:02am

    Charlie Ergen is the biggest proverbial piece of shit.

    It's documented that he didn't know how to spell "Satellite" when he started his company.

    But more interesting is that he also displays his idiocy in the people he hires, and continually favors offshoring when possible.

    Charlie's continual attention to the bottom line maybe even caused a Satellite to exit it's orbit, and allowed him to collect insurance.

    I get the feeling that Charlie surrounds himself with people that say "Hey Charlie, if you don't pay this, or pay this or do this, maybe we can save $2.00, and I doubt they will challenge it".. This in itself is a very bad way to do business.

    Perhaps another said "If we spend $10,000 more on this we can obtain a stay in court"

    If that's how he decides to run his business, the entire company needs to be sent off and his employees deserve better. Because no waterfall will make up for his crappy leadership.

    TiVo deserves to be paid for what they developed, and Charlie needs to go away. Charlie is the absolute opportunist who not only can spell "satellite" now, but seems to be continually lost at square one.

     

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      CleverName, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 7:19am

      Re:

      "TiVo deserves to be paid for what they developed,"

      As I recall, Tivo developed a market - not a DVR. They did nothing new or out of the ordinary on a hardware/software level. Putting data on a HD is not unique and certainly was obvious to a practitioner in the field as there were other DVRs introduced at the same time.

      This just another money and you know it.

      As far as your other rant, true or not, it has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

       

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    nraddin (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 6:53am

    TIVO SUCKS!!

    What does TIVO think it owns exactly? The idea of recording TV on a HDD? Well I was doing that on my PC long before their 1998 first showing of both Tivo and ReplayTV.

    Next the Tivo system is just finally getting as good a the ReplayTV interface (But not there yet) and is not even close to what MythTV or even Windows Media Center can do.

    If Tivo had developed anything that was not obvious and/or done at the same time by a half dozen other companies (Not the least of which is ReplayTV) then I am having a hard time finding it. They don't deserve a patent on any of the basic ideas of functionality of a DVR, and if they get to hold people over the table for it we will all pay the price.

     

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    PRMan, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 7:11am

    Wow, the ignorance is astounding on here...

    TiVo patented watching a show while it is still recording, including how to handle when you catch up to live.

    This was an extremely big deal in the days of slow hard drives and was NOT simply "digital DVR". All the other DVR manufacturers pay a small fee to TiVo for this functionality.

    The patent has already been challenged and upheld by the USPTO.

     

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      CleverName, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 8:55am

      Re: Wow, the ignorance is astounding on here...

      "This was an extremely big deal in the days of slow hard drives and was NOT simply "digital DVR"."

      And no one else practiced in the field had ever thought of, published papers on nor built anything like it ? I call BS. And, isn't "digital DVR" redundant ?

      "All the other DVR manufacturers pay a small fee to TiVo for this functionality."

      Really - as far as rationalizations go, this one is very lame. Lemmings ? Are you WH ?

      "The patent has already been challenged and upheld by the USPTO."

      This statement of fact is rather meaningless. There are many patents which should not have been issued, some of them have been upheld. Water is wet ...

       

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    staff1, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 7:31am

    competition

    "The market is better served by competition..."

    But without strong patent protection there will be no competition. Small firms will soon figure out their creations and discoveries will just be stolen and they will stop creating. Think again...or just think.

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 11:12am

      Re: competition


      But without strong patent protection there will be no competition. Small firms will soon figure out their creations and discoveries will just be stolen and they will stop creating. Think again...or just think.


      You keep coming here and claiming that, and each time we point out that historically this is wrong -- that most innovations are actually IGNORED by the bigger companies until it's too late. That smaller companies tend to recognize disruptive innovations first and big companies are quite often (not always, certainly) unable to adapt to them.

      And we point this out to you over and over again, and from you? Silence. Quite telling.

       

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        Jake (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 6:20pm

        Re: Re: competition

        Of course, TiVo is no patent troll. They have a product, they've been in the market for 10 years-- which they helped pioneer-- and they continue to innovate. I'm unaware of any other lawsuits TiVo has been a party to. One reason for their survival was their ability to stay out of the courtroom.

        And then there's the matter of their business, which relied (in part) on licensing their software to DirecTV, Humax, Comcast and other TV providers and hardware companies. Now, for better or worse, the courts have rules that TiVo's "time-warp" and other trick play features are deserving of patent protection and DISH has violated them. Honestly, I think the whole concept of software patents is a little inane, but that's the system we got.

        Now given all that, When DISH first lost this case FIVE years ago, they had the opportunity to settle. Anytime in the next 3-4 years they probably could have licensed TiVo's technology for under $200 million and TiVo shareholders would have rejoiced. But they didn't. DISH played chicken with the court, violated court orders repeatedly, and have now been found in contempt. So in addition to the $100 million they already paid, and the other $100 million they are due through April 2008, they will soon (likely) be on the hook for several hundred million more, and will be forced to license TiVo's technology or shut off their DVRs.

        So yeah, on the surface it's a patent case. But dig deeper, and you'll find that Echostar/DISH have been the ones prolonging the court battle and consequently increasing their financial exposure substantially. DISH isn't appealing on any moral grounds, and even if they were, they would have been wise to settle years ago at a much lower cost. Thumbing their noses at the legal system may cost them billions of dollars.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 6:58pm

          Re: Re: Re: competition

          Amen, Jake! I wish Mike's article had actually included the facts you did. The variance in the quality of the articles on this site is odd. Sometimes they are well stated and insightful, and then there are ones like this 'Goes Dr. Evil' garbage. Thanks for adding some substance with your post.

           

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          CleverName, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 8:36pm

          Re: Re: Re: competition

          Who said anything about a troll. Other than yourself, has anyone in this thread used the term troll? No, of course not. So why are you going on in tivos defense against a claim that was not levied ?

          It is a bad patent, no question about it.

          Please - do try and be more creative next time - ok ?

           

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        tivonomo, Jul 16th, 2009 @ 8:59am

        Re: Re: competition

        Mike,

        Maybe you get no response because you are applying broad reasoning to a specific case. The DVR industry has indeed stolen DVR technology and made it nearly impossible for competition to survive. This is why Replay is gone and TiVo had to sue or else they would be gone. To this day, the only way TiVo can get their DVR to a satellite customer is through DTV. DISH has completely shut them out and went to the extent to steal technology from a TiVo prototype.

         

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    crashoverride, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 12:41pm

    too bad Dish didn't buy Replay TV for there patents....

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2009 @ 12:15pm

    My pappy used to tan my hide, out behind the barn...

    DO you think EchoStar will try to wiggle their way out of a $6M judgement from 46 states?

    http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/stories/2009/07/13/daily61.html

    Echostar seems to be a little whiny brat who keeps getting caught with their hands in the cookie jar. Someone needs to take him out behind the barn and teach him a thing or two.

     

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    eryl (profile), Jul 30th, 2009 @ 10:29am

    tivo patent

    How long will our legal system allow echostar with their deep pockets drag this legislation out. This has been going on for roughly four years. We already saw how the FCC practically destroyed satellite radio by sitting on a merger decision for well over a year. Is this all about PAC money being steered to the right people or are they all milking the system.

     

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    norman gorman, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 9:00pm

    SATS

    Does this ruling impact the Slingbox?

     

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    Fuck Tivo, Jan 20th, 2011 @ 11:06am

    Fuck Tivo. Piece of primitive shit. I will never even look at it from across the street. What a Garbage! I'm getting my Verizon DVR back, I thought that Tivo Was an upgrade, boy was I wrong. This crap gets frozen once to thrice a week. (Hey Conan!) So fuck you Tivo! You suck ass of a blowfish.

     

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