01.14.2009 12:40 PM
DBS Operator Continues Patent Spat With TiVo

The folks at the Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) have managed to get the patent police to take another look at TiVo’s time-shifting patent. TiVo and Dish have fought for years over the technology, which TiVo pioneered in its eponymous boxes in the 1990s. Dish eventually incorporated the function into its own set-top boxes, setting off a patent dispute between the two companies.

Alviso, Calif.-based TiVo won the dispute nearly three years ago and was awarded nearly $105 million by a U.S. District Court in Texas. Dish’s bird partner EchoStar, (NASDAQ: SATS), which now makes the set-tops, was told to disable the TiVo-like function in the devices, but EchoStar claimed to be using a software work-around. TiVo asked the court to hold EchoStar in contempt. A hearing wass set for February.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office confirmed TiVo’s patents last November, but agreed this week to Dish and EchoStar’s request to re-examine its decision.

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