The US Supreme Court today declined to hear DISH Network’s appeal of TiVo’s patent victory, effectively upholding the ruling. DISH Network will now pay TiVo $104 million, the amount awarded by the jury in 2006 plus interest, which has been held in escrow during the appeals process.
TiVo issued the following statement:
“We are extremely pleased that the United States Supreme Court has denied EchoStar’s petition to review the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit unanimous ruling that upheld the District Court judgment of willful patent infringement, full award of damages, and a permanent injunction against EchoStar’s infringing DVR products. We look forward to the expeditious receipt of damages awarded by the District Court covering the period through September 8, 2006 and remain confident that the District Court will enforce the injunction and award further damages from EchoStar’s continued infringement of our Time Warp patent.”
DISH Network and EchoStar issued their own statement a short time later:
“As expected, the Supreme Court denied our petition for certiorari today.
The Supreme Court’s decision, however, does not impact our software design-around, which has been placed in DISH DVRs subject to the district court’s injunction, and our customers can continue using their DISH DVRs. We believe that the design-around does not infringe Tivo’s patent and that Tivo’s pending motion for contempt should be denied. We look forward to that ruling in the near future.
Because of the Supreme Court’s decision, we will pay Tivo approximately $104 million (the amount the jury awarded in 2006 plus interest). The money is in an escrow account and will be released to Tivo in the next few days.”
This is not the end however, the US District Court in Texas has yet to rule on additional damages as well as the injunction. TiVo claims that DISH Network continued to infringe after the initial award, and indeed continues to infringe, and therefore TiVo is entitled to additional damages. Further they claim that the DISH Network DVRs are subject to the injunction that is part of the initial ruling, upheld today, and therefore must be switched off.
DISH Network for their part claim that a software ‘design around’ they deployed following the ruling makes their DVRs no longer infringing, and hence means there should be no additional damages and, more importantly, that their DVRs are not subject to the injunction.
So depending on how Judge David Folsom decides in Texas this could be the end, or DISH Network could be facing additional payouts and potentially needing to disable millions of DVRs in the field. (Personally I don’t think it’ll come to that. If they’re ordered to switch them off I expect an 11th hour deal with TiVo to license the patents to keep them on.)
But today’s decision does seem to finally be the beginning of the end for this long legal saga.
Disclaimer: I’m employed by Sling Media, which is owned by EchoStar.