DISH hit with $104m TiVo damages bill

Charlie Ergen’s DISH Network has finally lost its myriad of patent appeals against TiVo, and has to stump up a thumping $104m in damages. The verdict in the extremely long-running case was given back in April 2006 but has been back and forth in various appeal courts ever since, finally being listed – and denied a further hearing - by the US Supreme Court on Oct 6.

"Because of the Supreme Court’s decision, we will pay TiVo approximately $104 million ($74 million, the amount the jury awarded in 2006 plus interest). The money is in an escrow account and will be released to TiVo in the next few days," Dish said in a statement. However, as if to stress its belief its statement also repeated the DISH claim that its current DVR devices no longer violate TiVo’s patents – a claim rejected by TiVo which claims there are continued violations.

“The Supreme Court's decision, however, does not impact our software design-around, which has been placed in DISH DVRs subject to the district court's injunction, and our customers can continue using their DISH DVRs. We believe that the design-around does not infringe Tivo's patent and that Tivo's pending motion for contempt should be denied. We look forward to that ruling in the near future,” said DISH.

In other words litigation between the two will almost certainly continue. In a statement, TiVo said it's looking forward to getting its hands on the cash awarded by the US District Court handling the case. Those damages would cover a two-year period. Also, TiVo said it remains "confident that the District Court will enforce the injunction and award further damages from EchoStar's continued infringement of our Time Warp patent."

TiVo’s share price immediately responded and was one of the very few stocks that showed any positive gain, up 2% on Monday, although it fell back 3% on Oct 7 to around $6.16 and is still stubbornly down when measured against its $9 price back in May. TiVo’s over-arching problem is that it is still losing money, after 10 years of being in the market. In August the company issued a fresh guidance to Wall Street, saying it expected to lose a further $7m-$9m during this current quarter year.