Dish, EchoStar sue TiVo to keep their DVR offerings afloat

Dish Network says their new software no longer infringes on TiVo's patents, but the DVR maker disagrees.

Last week, TiVo CEO Tom Rogers said his company believes Dish Network's new software still infringes on its patents, and was asking for an injunction to block DISH from using it immediately. On Friday, EchoStar responded by launching a new suit, essentially asking the court to validate its software as legal and non-infringing.

Such a ruling would give EchoStar and Dish a leg to stand on in the nearly four year old battle between the two companies. Dish Network was spun off from EchoStar on January 1, and now controls all of EchoStar's former satellite television holdings.

"The lawsuit is in response to TiVo's continued public statements that our new DVR software infringes," EchoStar and Dish said in a joint statement. They added that the suit was independent of TiVo's own legal moves.

TiVo's original suit was filed in 2004; and in April 2006 the courts found EchoStar liable for infringement, awarding the DVR maker $73 million. EchoStar appealed the case, although in April of this year an appeals court refused to take the appeal.

The satellite television company has only one major victory under its belt, a stay of the injunction that would have prevented it from offering DVR service. The USPTO has already upheld that TiVo's patents are indeed valid.

If TiVo is successful in getting the newest injunction, it could essentially be game over for Dish. The company would need to either stop offering DVR service to its customers, or sign a licensing agreement with TiVo. The only legal option remaining for Dish should that happen, may be an appeal to have the US Supreme Court hear the case, though the chances of that seem very slim based on the facts of the ongoing legal battle.

"We have not seen EchoStar's filing so we can't comment on it," a TiVo spokesperson told BetaNews. "However, these issues are in front of the District Court in Texas and we remain confident in the outcome."

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