Appeals court considers long-term stay of injunction

NEW YORK — Echostar can keep the DVRs turned on, for now.

The satcaster, embroiled in a patent dispute with TiVo, was ordered by a Texas court on Thursday to stop selling and turn off about four million of its digital DVRs within 30 days.

But on Friday, a federal appeals court in Washington, DC temporarily blocked that order while it considers a long-term stay of the injunction.

“As a result of the stay, Echostar can continue to sell and provide to consumers all of its digital video recorder models,” Echostar said, in a statement. “We continue to believe the Texas decision was wrong and should be reversed on appeal.”

The stay of the injunction gives Echostar temporary relief from a huge court defeat on Thursday, when a Texas court ordered it to turn off its four million digital DVRs and pay $89.6 million in damages.

The ruling came after a federal jury in April determined that Echostar had infringed on TiVo’s “time warp” patent, which is a process that allows a DVR to record one program while playing back another.

“This decision recognizes that our intellectual property is valuable and will ensure that moving forward EchoStar will be unable to use our patented technology without our authorization,” TiVo said in a statement yesterday.

Echostar pledged to appeal the verdict.

EchoStar operates Dish Network, the fourth-largest pay TV service in the U.S. with 12.5 million subscribers. TiVo had hoped to force the company to pay a license fee for the use of the technology, a revenue stream considered vital to the company’s future.

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