EchoStar's motion to re-hear TiVo patent case denied

A federal appeals court this afternoon turned down Dish Network parent company EchoStar's petition to rehear its long-fought patent infringement case, which was only partially reversed in EchoStar's favor last January.

Having attained a glimmer of hope last January with a partial reversal and partial remand -- amid a partial upholding -- of an April 2006 verdict in TiVo's favor, EchoStar this afternoon lost its appeal to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals to have the entire case reheard. The Dish Network parent went for all the marbles and lost.

Two of EchoStar's video recorder lines, a judge from the same court had found, did not infringe upon TiVo's patents for DVR technology. But that judge let stand the lower court's ruling that its software infringed upon TiVo, and remanded other matters to the lower court to decide. That software includes the critical "Time Warp" feature, which enables recording and viewing of separate channels simultaneously.

The Circuit Court's denial today means that process continues as planned.

TiVo's statement of relief today characterizes the Circuit Court's January ruling as having been unanimous in its favor, despite much of the groundwork for that case having been knocked out from under it. Now, TiVo focuses on the remaining portion, Time Warp, as the crux of its case.

"Today's ruling brings us closer to resolution of EchoStar's infringement and reconfirms the strength of TiVo's Time Warp patent, which is in addition to the other benefits TiVo has to offer," TiVo stated this afternoon. "We look forward to full enforcement of our rights in the near term."

EchoStar's statement today characterizes the same January ruling as a victory for its side, mainly on the theory that the company has changed the way its current DVR software works anyway.

"The decision, however, will have no effect on our current or future customers because EchoStar's engineers have developed and deployed 'next-generation' DVR software to our customers' DVRs," reads EchoStar's statement. "This improved software is fully operational, has been automatically downloaded to current customers, and does not infringe the TiVo patent at issue in the Federal Circuit's ruling."

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