NDS/EchoStar Court Case Opens

During opening remarks in a California federal court trial pitting NDS Group against EchoStar and NagraStar, an attorney for the News Corp.-controlled TV technology company denied accusations that it was engaged in spying on the satellite entity.

Still, according to wire reports covering the event, that NDS attorney said the company engaged in what he called "reverse engineering" by obtaining the codes of a competing conditional access technology, part of an effort to monitor piracy.

"Because this is a competitive business, NDS also monitors competitors," NDS attorney Richard Stone, as quoted by Reuters, told jurors. "NDS has done nothing to illegally harm or damage EchoStar. All NDS has done is compete hard and fair in the marketplace."

EchoStar and NagraStar are seeking $1 billion in damages in the litigation, alleging that NDS compromised the conditional access technology utilized by the companies.

In their complaint, EchoStar and NagraStar allege NDS cracked their access card technology, and extracted proprietary codes from within the system. What's more, NDS personnel then designed and built a pirating device that was capable of reprogramming those access cards, stated the litigation. Those devices were then allegedly distributed to the pirating community, the lawsuit said.