TiVo awarded $73 million in patent case

TiVo was awarded more than $73 million in damages last week in a patent infringement lawsuit against EchoStar Communications over its personalized video recording technology.

A federal jury in Marshall, TX, found that EchoStar had “willfully” infringed TiVo's patent by using its technology without a license in its own DVR. The general counsel for TiVo, Matthew Zinn, told the Associated Press that the verdict now gives his company more leverage to negotiate royalty deals with cable companies that, like Dish, use digital video recorders that function much like a TiVo.

The verdict was a big win for TiVo. The judge could triple the $73.9 million award, which is subject to appeal, because the jury found that EchoStar had willfully infringed TiVo's patent.

In a statement, EchoStar called the verdict “the first step in a very long process” and said it considered TiVo's patent overly broad.

Rivals have taken sales away from TiVo by offering boxes and service at lower prices. Zinn told AP the company would not rule out suing cable operators that use other boxes, but he called it a last resort.

TiVo claimed EchoStar violated its patent for a “multimedia time warping system” to pause, rewind or fast-forward live TV programs by recording them.

A lawyer for EchoStar, Harold McElhinny, told jurors that TiVo was using EchoStar as a scapegoat for its failure to compete against other makers of set-top boxes. He said, according to an AP report, that TiVo's box was overpriced at a time when Dish and cable companies were giving away recorders to new subscribers.

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