Dish users may continue using DVRs as appeals court stays injunction

As first reported by Dow Jones this morning, the ongoing technology infringement battle between DVR pioneer TiVo and Dish Network has only entered yet another new chapter. A federal appeals court early this morning granted Dish Network's request for a stay of an injunction that would have barred the continued sale and use of Dish's DVRs, after a district court ruled last month they infringed upon TiVo's patents for timesharing technology.

The stay does not mean that Dish is out of the woods. An appeal of last month's decision was inevitable, and courts will typically delay injunctions pending appeal, even if it ends up that the appeal is upheld.

But the move did shock someone after all -- specifically, stock traders who had purchased TiVo stocks in droves last month, expecting the decision to lead to a licensing agreement between the two companies with TiVo raking in the cash. In an effort to stall this morning's selloff of TiVo shares, financial analyst Thomas Eagan, according to this morning's Barron's, advised traders that the stay may actually end up benefitting TiVo most. It gives time, Eagan advised, for Dish's attorneys to negotiate a settlement, before the appeals court has time to uphold over $200 million in accrued penalties against Dish and its partner EchoStar.

Dish Network's announcement this morning was directed toward customers, saying they may continue to use the equipment they currently have...for now.
The satellite provider's statement reads, "The Federal Circuit found that EchoStar 'met its burden of demonstrating the requisites for a stay,' including, at a minimum, that we have a substantial case on the merits. As a result of the stay, our customers can continue using their Dish DVRs."

This morning, TiVo noted the inevitability of the stay and sounded a note of optimism on its own behalf: "The Court of Appeals stayed the District Court's order the previous time this case was heard on appeal and ultimately affirmed the judgment against EchoStar," reads a company statement. "We are pleased that the court recognizes the urgency of ruling on this appeal and has ordered an expedited briefing schedule."

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