TiVo Emerges Victorious in DVR Patent Lawsuit

After a protracted legal battle that began in 2004, a U.S. District Court ruling says Dish Network and sister company EchoStar infringed on TiVo's digital video recording (DVR) technology.

TiVo Inc., a creator of television services and advertising solutions for digital video recorders (DVRs), announced the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in its favor in a patent lawsuit which pitted the company against satellite-television provider Dish Network and sister company EchoStar Corp. The suit, which first started in 2004, concerned a patent infringement by EchoStar on TiVo's DVR technology and paves the way to a possible payment to TiVo of $300 in damages and penalties.

"We are pleased that the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit fully affirmed the district court's finding of contempt against EchoStar, including both the disablement and infringement provisions," a statement from the company read. "Additionally, this ruling paves the way for TiVo to receive the approximately $300M in damages and contempt sanctions awarded to us for EchoStar's continued infringement through July 1, 2009. We will also seek further damages and contempt sanctions for the period of continued infringement thereafter. We will continue our efforts to protect our intellectual property from further infringement."

TiVo's stock price jumped more than 50 percent on the news as financial analysts saw new markets possibly opening up for the company, while EchoStar released a statement expressing disappointment with the court's decision. "We are disappointed in the Federal Circuit's split decision, but are pleased that Judge Rader agreed with our position," the statement read. "Therefore, we will be seeking en banc review by the full Federal Circuit. We also will be proposing a new design-around to the district court for approval. At this time, our DVR customers are not impacted."

In a research note to investors, Janney Montgomery Scott analyst Tony Wible said the possibility of an appeal victory for Dish was slim. "[The review] will lead to another two-week delay, but is very likely to go in TiVo's favor," he wrote. "After this process, we believe Dish would have 30 days to land a commercial deal with TiVo or risk having its DVRs deactivated."

Wible reviewed TiVo's win in very favorable terms, recommending investors purchase stock aggressively until the stock price tipped $15. "Today's overwhelming victory significantly improves TiVo's ability to win new business and the rates it can demand for its technology from future deals, while also improving penetration of its DVR advertising platform," he wrote.