Appeals court takes wind out of Tivo’s sails

Tivo’s March court victory over EchoStar may be short-lived.

A U.S. Appeals Court has granted the parent company of Dish Network a rehearing on the battle over the long patent dispute between the
companies. Tivo says it has a patent on the “time-warping” technology in DVRs, allowing
viewers to watch one show while recording another.

Earlier this year, a Texas court agreed, ordering EchoStar
to pay $74 million to Tivo (a figure that was later raised to $200 million).
The appeals court initially agreed with the verdict, but now wants to
reconsider – with all judges on the court present, rather than the panel of three
that made the initial ruling.

It puts Tivo under an incredible amount of pressure
(something the stock reflected Friday, falling nearly 42 percent). The
company had hoped to use its earlier court victory as leverage in negotiations with cable
companies that used the tech – which could be a cash windfall.

With the verdict in danger, that means Tivo remains unable
to capitalize on its patents.

A court date for the hearing has not yet been set. 

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