A federal judge has ruled that the electronic program guides (EPGs) deployed by EchoStar and DirecTV do not violate the patents of Gemstar-TV Guide.
Judge Lacy Thornburg of the U.S. District Court for western North Carolina granted the satellite companies' motion for summary judgment, meaning the court could issue its legal ruling without a trial to argue the facts of the case.
One of the disputed patents was issued in 1988.
"The defendant's products are based on digital, as opposed to analog, methodology and the fact that both systems use a carrier wave to transmit data does not constitute infringement," the judge wrote in an 83-page order.
The ruling follows another setback for Gemstar. In June, an International Trade Commission administrative judge ruled against the company's claim of infringement by several companies. Gemstar is appealing that ruling.
News Corp., the conglomerate whose holdings include the Fox networks, owns nearly half of Gemstar.
Gemstar's stock, trading at under $4, has dropped 95 percent from its high in early 2000.
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