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Pay up orders Echostar judge - 07-September-2009, 01:50

Pay up orders Echostar judge
Chris Forrester

Echostar was Sept 4 ordered to pay almost $200m in a contempt sanction to TiVo for breaches of the PVR companys Time Warp patents. The $200m will be nice, but isnt quite the $1bn that TiVo was originally seeking.

In its lawsuit, TiVo has alleged that the distribution of digital video recordings (DVRs) by Echostar sister-company Dish contained a facsimile of TiVo's patented Time Warp feature, which enables users to re-wind or pause live TV broadcasts. After losing the original infringement case, Dish and Echostar filed appeals, while they attempted the reprogramming of the set-top boxes with what they claimed was a workaround for the contentious technology.

Although Echostar and Dish argued they had downloaded modified software to DVR's used by its subscribers, TiVo still countered that the workaround software continued to infringe its patent; and won through an injunction in a Texas District court.

TiVo has also sought all the DVR profits that Echostar made during the time-period in which it was in contempt of the injunction putting the figures at an estimated $974.5m; while Echostar suggested the earlier-decided infringement fine of $1.25 per customer per month.

TiVo had requested treble damages - three times the estimated base value of the infringement - under the theory that Echostar and its then-subsidiary Dish wilfully infringed upon TiVo's technology. That was too much, and the Court rejected the suggestion. However, Judge Folsom ordered a rate of $2.25 per DVR subscriber per month, totaling up to nearly $192.7m.

The near-$200m damages sum will be lumped together with the $104m initial penalty against Echostar awarded last October, plus attorneys' fees, for a total package that TiVo estimated at around $400m. That could go higher, TiVo said.

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