TiVo vs. EchoStar: The Appeal

TiVo and EchoStar were back in court today, giving oral arguments in EchoStar’s appeal of TiVo’s earlier victory on claims of patent infringement. Since it as local, Dave Zatz of Zatz Not Funny decided to sit in on the hearing – and he reports that it was really quite boring. Which isn’t surprising for anyone who has sat in a court room during a non-criminal case or had to read transcripts of such. It isn’t all Jack McCoy.

The appeal was heard by a three judge panel, and it could be weeks, or months, before they render a verdict. However, the press already seems to be calling it in favor of TiVo. The Associated Press put out this article saying“A three-judge appeals court panel signaled Thursday it is likely to rule at least partly in favor of TiVo Inc. in its patent dispute with EchoStar Communications Corp.”

The article cites statements from the bench that seem to indicate the leaning of the judges, such as this:

Donald Dunner, EchoStar’s lawyer, argued before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that the trial court construed TiVo’s patent too broadly.

EchoStar’s technology differs from TiVo’s in several respects and therefore doesn’t infringe its patent, Dunner said.

Judge S. Jay Plager, however, appeared unconvinced.

If the jury accepted TiVo’s description of the scope of its patent, “isn’t that the end of the case?” Plager asked.

Overturning a jury’s decision is a serious matter, so EchoStar would really have to convince the panel that the jury made a serious error – and it doesn’t seem likely they’ll succeed.

If EchoStar loses this appeal, their next step would be to appeal to the US Supreme Court – unless they decide to just drop it and license the patents from TiVo.

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