US Patent Office sides with TiVo in DVR dispute

The DVR maker was handed a major victory Thursday after the USPTO upheld its patents to time-shifting technology that has become a staple of the TiVo service.

While not completely ending its court battle with EchoStar, it essentially would prevent the satellite company from using claims of patent invalidity in its ongoing appeal.

"Today's decision by the PTO brings us another step closer to ending EchoStar's continued infringement and we are hopeful that the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will uphold the district court judgment of patent infringement and reinstate the injunction," the company said in a statement.

As the judgment by the USPTO is final, it strengthens the patent for TiVo. It's quite likely that the DVR makers claims to the technology surrounding time shifting will be much harder by any other company to dispute in the future.

TiVo had won the original court case against EchoStar in April 2006, which Echostar quickly appealed. Pending the appeal, the judgment against it was stayed that allows the company -- which owns Dish Network -- to still continue providing DVRs to customers during the process.

EchoStar expressed disappointment with the decision, but vowed to fight on. "The decision, however, does not impact in any way our pending appeal to the Federal Circuit," the company stated late today. "We are hopeful that the Federal Circuit will reverse the district court and find that we do not infringe Tivo's patent."

That appeal is currently awaiting a ruling from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which handles all appeals surrounding patent infringement.

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