Patents

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
dvr, patent, uspto

Companies:
echostar, tivo



TiVo's 'Big Win' Over Dish On Patents Looking Less And Less Solid, As Patent Office Rejects Patent Claims

from the oops dept

Early on TiVo had won pretty much of all of its patent battles with EchoStar over its DVR technology, perhaps helped along by a bit of bull buying in Texas. We had noted, however, that the USPTO had expressed concerns over the validity of the patents, and we wondered why the court case would move forward while the patents themselves might be rejected by the Patent Office. But, the case did go forward, and while TiVo initially won at the appeals court level (which made it so happy that it sued others and demanded ridiculous sums from EchoStar), things haven't been looking quite so good lately.

Last month, the appeals court vacated the earlier decision, and agreed to rehear the case. And, now, it turns out that the USPTO has rejected two patent claims that were a key part of this fight. Of course, as TiVo is quick to point out, this isn't the end of the review process, but it certainly raises serious questions about the validity of the patents TiVo is basing its whole strategy on.

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  1. icon
    fogbugzd (profile), 9 Jun 2010 @ 7:25am

    Sorry they are going down, but it is their own pricing model that did them in

    I always wanted to get a Tivo. I still think they had one of the best devices out there, especially if you wanted to record from a variety of over-the-air and wired sources.

    I never bought one because I could never stomach their pricing model for services. Their monthly fees were excessive; the same information could be legally obtained for a few dollars a year. Furthermore, they were selling viewing and search data which made it a profit center for the company, even if they hadn't sold subscriptions.

    If they had charged more for the initial hardware and then had a low annual subscription fee I probably would have had a Tivo on every set in the house. As it was, the high monthly fee made me reluctant to buy even one.

    I think this is another case where a content provider over estimates the price people are pay for their information. It's not that the information isn't valuable, it comes down to what customers are willing to pay.

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