A case which has been running since all the way back in 2004, when the television business looked very different than it does today, has finally ended.
TiVo has emerged victorious, with Dish and EchoStar paying $500 million to end all ongoing patent litigation.
TiVo Vs. Dish, Echostar
In 2004 TiVo, then on the up and up, sued EchoStar (which owned Dish at the time) over its DVR patents for ‘multimedia time warping’. TiVo won the case in 2006, but thanks to endless appeals the case kept trudging on.
TiVo won every appeal possible, and in April 2010 a judge ruled that the two companies would not only have to pay damages but also cease their services. It’s taken another year for a settlement to be reached but that has now finally happened. To the relief of everyone concerned, I’m sure.
The final settlement sees Dish and EchoStar paying TiVo $300 million up front with another $200 million due in six annual payments between 2012 and 2017. This closes out all pending litigation and injunctions on both sides.
TiVo has also licensed its DVR patents to Dish and EchoStar for their remaining lives, ensuring the latter two can remain in business.
Thus begins a love-in between the companies, with TiVo promising to help Dish promote its new Blockbuster digital video service, coming after Dish acquired the assets of the former market leader in video rentals.
Dish CEO Charlie Ergen said:
“We are excited to work with TiVo to help develop our Blockbuster video service. Resolving the patent infringement case allows us to further engage with TiVo on a variety of exciting strategic initiatives, like Blockbuster, where we are uniquely positioned to collaborate.”
You have to wonder whether all of this was worth it in the end. Technology evolves so rapidly these days that what seems cutting-edge today will be old-fashioned tomorrow.
TiVo peaked in January 2007 when it boasted 4.4 million subscribers. It now has just 2 million, with the numbers having more than halved over the last four years. Mainly because online video now fills that void.
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