On Second Thought... Appeals Court Vacates TiVo's Big Patent Win Over Echostar

from the not-so-fast-there... dept

TiVo's lawsuit against EchoStar for patent infringement has been a mostly one-sided affair. TiVo appeared to win at every turn, to the point that there were stories suggesting EchoStar would have to start blocking the use of its own DVR. TiVo had celebrated these victories by suing others as well, and demanding ridiculous sums of money from EchoStar. Of course, it seemed odd to us that, while all of this was happening, the US Patent Office was admitting the patents might not be valid. Oops.

Today, however, TiVo got some bad news. Despite initially siding with TiVo, the Federal Circuit has vacated the win, and agreed to rehear the case. Perhaps TiVo needs to buy some local livestock in DC, like it did in East Texas...

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  1. icon
    aguywhoneedstenbucks (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 2:00pm

    Funny side story

    I actually helped set up a temporary location for one of the law firms involved in this case when it was here in East Texas.

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

  2. icon
    jakerome (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 3:56pm

    The court is going to only reconsider a few aspects of the appeal. The primary question is thus: when a product is found to infringe a patent and a company attempts to design around the patent, does this require a whole new jury trial (which typically take 2-3 years with all the appeals) or is it an issue that can be settled with a contempt hearing. It has already been over 4 years since TiVo won at trial and the judge ordered DISH to disable the DVR functionality. If a new trial is ordered, it will probably be 2-3 more before it is settled. At which point DISH will attempt yet another workaround, ad infinitum.

    Software patents may make absolutely zero sense, but if they're going to exist sanctions for violating them should exist.

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

  3. identicon
    PatentThicketMadness, May 14th, 2010 @ 5:25pm

    Charlie is my hero

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

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2010 @ 5:42pm


    "Software patents may make absolutely zero sense, but if they're going to exist sanctions for violating them should exist."

    That statement makes no sense.

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

  5. icon
    FarmerBob (profile), May 15th, 2010 @ 3:56am

    Since TiVo stock took a 42% nose dive at this news, this would be the perfect time for Charlie to finally buy TiVo.

    Uh . . . Charlie?

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

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2010 @ 1:21pm


    exactly, if they wait out Tivo's eminent demise, this problem will take care of it's self. Software features have no business in patents and thats probably going to be the ruling out of the USSC this summer.

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

  7. identicon
    Jose_X, May 15th, 2010 @ 7:59pm


    Of course don't tell people how TiVo's product uses a ton of complex largely de-bugged software full of innovation that they got to use from many of the primary creators at $0 [ http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/gpl-2.0.html ]

    I guess TiVo would know better than to sue the gift-givers, but they have no problem suing direct competitors that likely use an idea within their product that TiVo had described overly broadly within their patent claims despite likely being a fairly natural path to take for numerous high-achieving engineers.

    Really, this tells me that TiVo has no respect for the tremendous cumulative amount of hard work and creativity that has gone into the software they got for $0. Either that or they think they the open source developers are suckers. Or perhaps they feel entitled to many many billions of dollars off their $0 license fees.

    When your brand takes a hit, prevent the competition from taking your customers by suing them for injunctive relief with anything at all no matter how unethical or disrespectful. [I'm not sure if this is the case here, but this came to mind since TiVo once backpeddled into using DRM to remove some nice features they had originally introduced when they were looking to make a name for themselves. In fact, TiVo's DRM was a major motivation for the Free Software Foundation to revamp their GPL license that had been unchanged and in widespread use for about a decade and a half.]

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

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