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[25.05.2006] TiVo says ruling will not affect EchoStar case

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Digital video recorder maker TiVo Inc. on Wednesday said a federal patent office ruling should not affect a jury verdict that EchoStar Communications Corp. stole its television recording technology.

TiVo won a patent lawsuit over EchoStar, the No. 2 U.S. satellite TV broadcaster, in April, when a Texas jury awarded it a little more than $73 million for lost profits and reasonable royalties.

Earlier on Wednesday, EchoStar, which has vowed to appeal the verdict, in a statement said the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Monday 'rejected many of TiVo's patent claims as invalid.'

In a response, TiVo, based in Alviso, California, said the patent office reexamined all 61 claims set forth in the patent case, and confirmed the validity of most, including two of the claims that EchoStar was found to have infringed.

'While certain of (TiVo's) patent claims were rejected by the (patent office), this should in no way impact the jury verdict,' TiVo said in a statement.

The verbal sparring comes on the heels of the April verdict against EchoStar, which is based in Englewood, Colorado, and owns the Dish Satellite TV Network. The ruling follows years of legal wrangling over software that allows users to record one television program while watching another via a digital video recorder.

Satellite providers have used DVRs, which allow viewers to pause live television and record dozens of shows, to woo customers away from cable companies. In turn, more cable TV providers are placing set-top boxes with built-in hard drives in subscribers' homes.

TiVo said after its victory that it would defend its intellectual property -- raising the possibility the company might sue other DVR makers or distributors.

Separately, TiVo said it has asked the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to halt sales of EchoStar products that infringed its patent, recall its existing DVRs and disable the DVR functionality in most of the infringing units already placed with customers.

An EchoStar spokeswoman was not available to comment.

Source: http://www.rdi-sat.com

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