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Info DISH, NDS and the Day After Jury Decision - 16-May-2008, 10:50

DISH, NDS and the Day After Jury Decision

The federal jury verdict in a trial pitting NDS Group against DISH Network may be viewed as a mixed decision: The DBS company convinced the jury on some of its claims, yet the News Corp. TV technology unit and defendant in the case escaped essentially unscathed in the final days of litigation.

The case in California federal court wrapped up Thursday, with the jury finding that NDS had violated a portion of the Communications Act and California law. DISH Network and its conditional access provider NagraStar alleged in the litigation that NDS hacked the technology used by the small dish service to secure its video signals.

While the jury found for DISH on certain points, the panel awarded the company only $1,500 in damages. There was an even smaller separate award of about $46 assessed in the verdict. Both DISH and NagraStar were hoping for about $1 billion in damages.

In a statement, DISH said it was "pleased that after four weeks of testimony on all the facts, the jury concluded that NDS violated the Federal Communications Act and the California Penal Code. We will continue to vigorously prosecute those individuals and companies that engage in stealing our satellite signals."

Still, the satellite TV company said it was "disappointed in the jury's damages award." However, "we are pleased that NDS will be responsible for our attorney fees in this case, and that we were completely vindicated on NDS' meritless counterclaims," DISH said.

In its statement, NDS said it feels that it has been exonerated with the jury's verdict. "NDS is pleased that the four-week long trial in which NDS faced baseless allegations, widely repeated and exaggerated to suggest the involvement of our majority shareholder News Corporation, has ended in a resounding affirmation of NDS and its business ethics and proper conduct," the company said.

"We have stated consistently throughout the course of this trial that the piracy of EchoStar was the result of inferior technology arising from inadequate investment in research and development by Kudelski. This position has been validated with (the) verdict," NDS added.
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