Litigation Keeps DIRECTV, DISH Busy in Court

Both of the nation's DBS players continue to deal with various court matters on two sides of the nation.

For starters, DIRECTV earned a small victory in its patent infringement litigation with Finisar. Last week, the D.C. federal appeals court ruled that the initial trial court's interpretation of certain terms in the patent was too broad, and it therefore vacated the jury's verdict of infringement. The case has been sent back to the lower court.

In a statement on the matter, DIRECTV said it was "extremely pleased with the outcome, it indicates the original verdict was incorrect. We look forward to having this completely resolved in the near future." Finisar said it was disappointed with the appeals court's ruling, but that the company remains optimistic the trial court will once again find in its favor the infringement claims in question.

The other big court case remains the California-based federal trial pitting NDS Group against DISH Network and its conditional access partner NagraStar.

According to press accounts, the U.S. district judge handling the litigation voiced concerns that the case would hinge on testimony from known lawbreakers - pirates - who have been employed by companies on both sides of the lawsuit. The judge urged the parties to settle rather than “face potentially devastating harm to their reputations” with an ongoing - and potentially ugly - trial.