Judge Overturns Dish $469M Patent Violation Case

(Image credit: Dish Network)

Less than two weeks after a jury in Utah ordered Dish Network to pay $469 million in damages after Clearplay sued the satellite TV provider for patent violations over its Autohop feature, a Utah federal judge has thrown out the verdict.

In the original case, filed in 2014, ClearPlay, a developer of parental control technology, accused Dish of infringing on two of its patented technologies that allow subscribers to skip over commercials, which it had been offering to subscribers since 2012. Earlier this month, a jury in federal court found in favor of ClearPlay, but also found that Dish did not purposely violate the patent.

Dish appealed the verdict, saying that ClearPlay did not provide enough evidence that Dish had willingly violated the patent.  

After the verdict was overturned, Dish issued the following statement:

"Earlier today, the judge in the ClearPlay v. Dish Network case ruled orally that he will grant Dish’s Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law. The ruling (sometimes called a directed verdict) means that the Court determined that ClearPlay failed to put on sufficient evidence to support the conclusion that Dish infringed the asserted patent claims. As a result, the jury's March 10, 2023 verdict and damages award are moot. Dish has stood firm in its belief that it did not infringe ClearPlay’s patents, and is gratified by the Court’s ruling."

ClearPlay has yet to comment on the decision.

Tom Butts

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched digitalbroadcasting.com for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (www.tvtech.com), the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.