Monday, September 22, 2008

No ruling yet in TiVo vs. EchoStar patent case

The judge presiding over the patent case between TiVo and EchoStar has delayed any ruling until possibly November, buying EchoStar some time and causing TiVo some short term duress.

TiVo's share value plunged 16.5 percent on Thursday as news of Judge David Folsom's plans broke, although it had rebounded nearly nine percent on Friday to nearly $8 in late afternoon trading.

Shareholders had been expecting a favorable ruling for the company, and Thursday's seemingly knee-jerk reaction could be interpreted as investors worrying that a delay in any ruling may be a positive development for EchoStar.

While a ruling may not come until November, the judge did indicate, according to Reuters, that he would like to have a ruling by October 1, but apparently could not guarantee it.

EchoStar already owes TiVo about $94 million, as determined by the original ruling in 2006. However, the DVR maker argues the company now owes $220 million additionally, figuring in the extra year and a half spent that the case was in appeal.

TiVo did not have much to say about the developments, only saying that "the court is considering the arguments that it heard today and we remain confident in the outcome." It is also asking the court to enforce a portion of the ruling which required EchoStar's Dish Network to disable its DVRs. EchoStar argues that this should not occur, since the company updated its DVRs' software to "work around" TiVo's patented technologies.

Either way, this ruling appears to be nearly the end of the road for EchoStar. With an appeals court upholding the judgments against it, and another refusing to rehear the case, its only remaining option is the Supreme Court. And that's not the most hopeful option, considering the relatively few number of cases the nation's highest court is willing to take.

  • Qualcomm patent ruled invalid in German Nokia case
  • WiMAX patent pool
  • Dish, EchoStar sue TiVo to keep their DVR offerings afloat
  • GraphOn adds Google to lengthening list of lawsuit targets