Court orders EchoStar to pay TiVo $103 million

Wed Jun 3, 2009 1:11am EDT
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By Paul Bond

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Satellite service provider EchoStar is in contempt of a permanent injunction against using some of TiVo's technology and must pay the DVR pioneer $103.1 million plus interest, a court ruled Tuesday.

As a result of the ruling and harsh rebuke against EchoStar by U.S. District Court Judge David Folsom, parent company the Dish Network might have to disable millions of customers' DVRs or quickly strike a licensing arrangement with TiVo.

Courts ruled five years ago that EchoStar was infringing TiVo's DVR software technology, and EchoStar paid TiVo -- after a few years of legal wrangling -- more than $100 million. Since then, EchoStar and Dish have split into two companies, and EchoStar has argued that an injunction ordering it to disable DVRs was immaterial because it already delivered new software to DVRs used by Dish customers.

Folsom saw it differently.

"By not disabling DVR functionality in adjudged receivers that had been placed with end users, EchoStar failed to comply with the plain language of this court's order," he wrote.

The judge noted that EchoStar had an opportunity to ask the court to modify its order but did not do so.

"Instead of requesting review of this court's order by itself or another court, EchoStar merely ignored this court's order because it subjectively believed it to be improper or overly broad," Folsom wrote. "This cannot be allowed."

EchoStar said Tuesday that it will ask for a stay of the injunction, as it has done successfully in the past. The satellite provider added that it has "strong grounds for appeal" and assured Dish customers with DVRs that they "are not immediately impacted by these recent developments."   Continued...