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EchoStar, Dish Network cough up $500m in TiVo settlement

Patent suit ends, at last

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The long-running patent lawsuit in which TiVo sued Dish Network and its former division, EchoStar, has been settled with the defendants agreeing to pay US$500 million to Tivo.

The case was originally brought against the EchoStar subsidiary, which split from Dish Network in 2008.

The dispute has been in the courts since 2004, when TiVo first sued Dish for allegedly infringing its “Time Warp” patents for time-shifting on digital PVRs (personal video recorders).

The settlement follows a ruling in April, under which Dish would have had to disable PVR functions in its boxes. Instead, by agreeing to the payment, Dish can retain these functions. The April ruling confirmed a similar ruling made in 2009, in which a US District Court judge decided that EchoStar’s attempt at working around the patents by rewriting its software didn’t go far enough.

Dish and EchoStar are to pay TiVo US$300 million up front, with the remainder to be paid in installments from 2012 to 2017.

The kiss-and-make-up settlement includes permission for TiVo to use two of EchoStar’s patents in TiVo-branded products; and TiVo will help Dish Networks promote the Blockbuster digital video service it acquired in April. ®

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