Kudelski says DISH legal bill is $20m

Andre Kudelski, head of the Nagra Kudelski conditional access company (and pictured, left), says the recent legal squabble with NDS cost him and Echostar’s Charlie Ergen some $20m in legal costs.

Kudelski was talking to Swiss newspaper 24 Hours about the case, and the plummeting value of Kudelski Group shares, down another four per cent last week, having now lost 60% of their value this year. However, Andre Kudelski refuses to declare himself beaten. His view is that their aim in this case was to prove piracy by NDS.

“Our client, Echostar, wanted to prove that NDS piracy had caused financial losses as it had to replace the card in all its decoders. Piracy was proven, which is why I’m happy. It’s regrettable that Echostar did not obtain more compensation…which is explained because it was difficult to prove real damage as firstly the cards were old and secondly Echostar made excellent profits during the period. All law costs will have to be paid by NDS and they amount to over $20 million.” He added that all Echostar cards have been replaced and Kudelski has been paid for this order.

Kudelski was also questioned by the newspaper on the loss of business (to NDS) of the Premiere pay-TV conditional access business. Kudelski said that the company has now renegotiated its contract with Premiere following the losses and will be providing access cards to the channel until 2012 at least.

Kudelski said his company would not be changing its business model and believes it has a strong position in cable pay-TV whilst competing with NDS in the satellite sector. The company is developing both internet television and protection for TV to mobiles. These investments, says Kudelski, mean the company will benefit from a more diversified business model, both in terms of risks and benefits.

As to Kudelski’s loss of face over these recent events, the company recognises its communication was not up to scratch for reasons linked with the trial. Kudelski Group now aims to be more pro-active in communicating with clients.