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Thursday, 09 October 2008 07:30

DISH will finally pay TiVo for patents

Written by David Stellmack

Image

No more options left for satellite provider

The ongoing litigation between satellite provider DISH Network Corp. and TiVo has finally hit the end of the line, with DISH reaching an agreement with TiVo. DISH has been fighting a long running suit in which TiVo accuses DISH of violating its DVR technology patents.

The agreement that has been reached by the two companies will see DISH pay TiVo $104 million dollars. It is still unclear if TiVo will go after DISH for additional damages, as the agreement will only see the company pay the original judgment plus interest.

Although the original claim is covered by this payment, more litigation will still move forward surrounding the workaround that DISH released in later DVR boxes that DISH claims do not infringe on TiVo’s patents.

Over three million customers have DISH satellite DVR boxes that use this latest workaround and customers that have this unit may still not be in the clear, as a lower court issued an order for DISH to shut these boxes down as they, too, violate TiVo’s patents. The decision from the court, however, continues to be on hold as things play out and both parties wait for rulings.

DirecTV could be the one who benefits most if DISH is forced to disconnect DVR boxes. DirecTV has enjoyed an up and down relationship with TiVo, but the two companies appear to be working together again with the announcement of a new TiVo-powered next generation MPEG 4 receiver that will be released next year. While the exact nature of the agreements between DirecTV and TiVo are not known, it is safe to assume that DirecTV does enjoy the ability to use TiVo’s patents.

While rumors exist that TiVo has attempted to reach an agreement for DISH to offer TiVo-powered DVR receivers for use with DISH, nothing has happened yet and DISH continues to offer its own branded units that do not use the TiVo interface or technology.

We think that the saga will continue, but we are not sure what the end result will be. TiVo continues to be aggressive in defending its patents and as well they should be, as they were first in the market space with DVR technology before providers started offering boxes that featured DVR technology from other sources. However, we suspect that TiVo will continue to work toward reaching more agreements with providers as many customers continue to prefer TiVo’s technology and interface over that being offered by other sources.

Last modified on Thursday, 09 October 2008 07:46

David Stellmack

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