TiVo Sues E*.

Scott Greczkowski

Scott Greczkowski

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This is an important one, so I am reposting the press release below.

I wonder if UltimateTV and Replay will be hit with the same suits since they also have the same features.

TiVo Files Patent Infringement Suit Against EchoStar
Monday January 5, 4:01 pm ET


SAN JOSE, Calif., Jan. 5 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO - News) today filed a patent infringement suit against EchoStar Communications Corporation in federal district court in Texas alleging the satellite television service provider is violating claims of U.S. Patent No. 6,233,389 issued to TiVo in May 2001, known as the "Time Warp" patent. Key TiVo inventions protected by the Time Warp patent include a method for recording one program while playing back another, watching a program as it is recording, and a storage format that supports advanced TrickPlay(TM) capabilities (i.e. pausing live television broadcast, fast-forwarding, rewinding, instant replays, and slow motion).
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"We take great pride in the fact that TiVo has created and developed the technology that revolutionizes the way people watch television," said Mike Ramsay, CEO of TiVo. "We've invested in building a comprehensive patent portfolio to protect our intellectual property and as the DVR category grows, we will be aggressive in protecting those assets."

"Our plan has been to leverage our intellectual property to support our drive for market share growth. The success of our licensing business clearly demonstrates the value the industry has placed on TiVo's technology. It's important that we protect our IP for TiVo and our licensees," continued Ramsay.

TiVo filed the patent involved in this litigation with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in July 1998.

As disclosed in its most recent annual report, TiVo has been awarded 49 patents and has over 100 patent applications pending. These patents and patent applications protect its original DVR software and hardware design, as well as additional features that enhance the TiVo service and enable networked home entertainment.

About TiVo

Founded in 1997 with the mission to dramatically improve consumers' television viewing experiences, TiVo is the creator of television services for digital video recorders (DVRs). TiVo's leadership has defined and inspired the entire category, earning the company patents for pioneering inventions associated with DVR software and hardware design. TiVo was the first to deliver on the promise of consumer choice and control over TV viewing, building a loyal and passionate subscriber base with over 97% of customers surveyed recommending TiVo to a friend. This enthusiasm has contributed to overwhelming growth over the past year, and the total subscriber base exceeds 1 million. TiVo is headquartered in San Jose, CA. Additional information can be found at www.tivo.com.

This release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements relate to, among other things, TiVo's business, services, business development, strategy, customers or other factors that may affect future earnings or financial results. Forward-looking statements generally can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as, "believe," "expect," "may," "will," "intend," "estimate," "continue," or similar expressions or the negative of those terms or expressions. Such statements involve risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to vary materially from those expressed in or indicated by the forward-looking statements. Factors that may cause actual results to differ materially include the risk that a court may not find infringement, or determine the patent to be invalid or unenforceable, and the cost of litigation, as well as the "Factors That May Affect Future Operating Results" and other risks detailed in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended January 31, 2003, and our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended October 31, 2003, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We caution you not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which reflect an analysis only and speak only as of the date hereof. TiVo disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

NOTE: TiVo is a registered trademark of TiVo Inc. in the United States and other jurisdictions. TrickPlay is a trademark of TiVo Inc. in the United States and other jurisdictions. All rights reserved. All other company or product names mentioned may be trademarks or registered trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.
 
Scott Greczkowski

Scott Greczkowski

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I am thinking Charlie should have purchased TIVO when he had a chance.

Infact he STILL should buy Tivo.
 
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glenn z

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Didn't TV Guide sue them a couple of years ago? Just because the products have the same features doesn't mean they infringed on their patent.
 
A_Noland

A_Noland

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I bet this ends up the same way the TV Guide lawsuites did. I don't remember when Tivo came out, but seems like the Dish player was out about the same time. Should be interesting.
 
dlsnyder

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Were the Tivo patents in effect when the original DishPlayer 7100 came out? If so did Microsoft license them? If not then Microsoft should be named as a co-defendant.
 
dlsnyder

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This also sounds strangely to me like Tivo taking a last gasp. Have they ever been profitable? Perhaps they are looking at this as a new revenue stream.
 
BobMurdoch

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Once again the US patent office screws up. Let's hope the courts shot down this one too.
 
Scott Greczkowski

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Jeese one would of hope that if Tivo sued dish it would be over something like Named Based recording. :)

BTW I wonder how software based PVR such as Snapstream get around these patents? Snapstream has name based recording and also lets you pause live TV.
 
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markdl

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I bet the computer based PVRs could come under the same fire, especially if Tivo finds a way to win this one.
 
gpflepsen

gpflepsen

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"We take great pride in the fact that TiVo has created and developed the technology that revolutionizes the way people watch television," said Mike Ramsay, CEO of TiVo. "We've invested in building a comprehensive patent portfolio to protect our intellectual property and as the DVR category grows, we will be aggressive in protecting those assets."

"Our plan has been to leverage our intellectual property to support our drive for market share growth. The success of our licensing business clearly demonstrates the value the industry has placed on TiVo's technology. It's important that we protect our IP for TiVo and our licensees," continued Ramsay.

TiVo filed the patent involved in this litigation with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in July 1998.

As disclosed in its most recent annual report, TiVo has been awarded 49 patents and has over 100 patent applications pending. These patents and patent applications protect its original DVR software and hardware design, as well as additional features that enhance the TiVo service and enable networked home entertainment.

About TiVo

Founded in 1997 with the mission to dramatically improve consumers' television viewing experiences, TiVo is the creator of television services for digital video recorders (DVRs). TiVo's leadership has defined and inspired the entire category, earning the company patents for pioneering inventions associated with DVR software and hardware design. TiVo was the first to deliver on the promise of consumer choice and control over TV viewing, building a loyal and passionate subscriber base with over 97% of customers surveyed recommending TiVo to a friend. This enthusiasm has contributed to overwhelming growth over the past year, and the total subscriber base exceeds 1 million. TiVo is headquartered in San Jose, CA. Additional information can be found at www.tivo.com.

Come on Tivo... Isn't it enough that you wanted Dish to stop using the PVR terminology, saying you had the PVR trademarked and didn't want others to infringe upon your term and identity? Now you forsake the PVR terminology and lay claim to the generic term DVR?

Give me a break :rolleyes:
 
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mboy

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Kind of like SCO suing every Linux company out there.
 
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video62

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The "watch one thing while recording another" is also in consumer DVD recorder equipment such as the Panasonic DMR-E80H and DMR-100H units.
 
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video62

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The Echostar DVR patent is 6,490,000. (click to read it). Here's some interesting language (an aside, not related to the Tivo suit) from the Echostar patent:

The control from the broadcast facility is through the ability to designate segments of the video and audio program to be immune to the fast-forward function. The present invention may thereby guarantee that a commercial advertisement is shown. The present invention enables TV commercial advertisers to mark their commercials with a prevention instruction in the signal to insure their advertisements are viewed by the user. In other words, the user is prevented from fast forwarding past these commercials. Also, other required broadcasts which must be viewed by the user, such as warnings of severe weather or national warnings broadcast by the Emergency Broadcast Association, can be so marked.

I wonder if EchoStar wisely chose not to implement this, or that the broadcasters could not reliably provide info so as to permit this "feature" to operate properly 100% of the time.
 
dlsnyder

dlsnyder

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Either that or the advertisers could not reliably provide the extra revenue to E* to make their commercials immune to skipping ;)
 
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video62

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dlsnyder said:
Either that or the advertisers could not reliably provide the extra revenue to E* to make their commercials immune to skipping ;)
Bingo!
 
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martincva

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Oct 31, 2003
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Another frivolous lawsuit.

As with the AMD - Intel lawsuits of the 80's and 90's, if E* can show that they developed the features completely on their own, without stealing any TiVo company secrets (they didn't de-compile and/or use any source code), there would be no basis in the lawsuit. You cannot patent a feature, only a method of implementing the feature. Whatever Charlie is, I don't think he is a thief. I find it hard to believe that he is cognizant of any corporate theft going on.

- martincva
 
MikeD-C05

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If Charlie was going to steal Tivo technology then why not go all the way and get the name based recording and season passes software?

I think Charlie should have bought Tivo a long time ago when he had extra money left over from the failed merger with Directv. Then Directv could have been paying Charlie to use Dish's "Tivo " software.
 
TheForce

TheForce

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Oh man! Here we go again for more delays.

Worst case scenario-
Courts grant an injunction preventing E* from selling anymore PVR technology and those sold must be shut down and money refunded to the people who bought them.

Since there are lots of companies out making disk based video recording systems, including Panasonic with their DVD-R included hard drive it seems the effect of this suit could have quite an impact on the industry. Should be interesting with CES in 2 days. How and what will be Dish's official comment? Probably "No-Comment"


OK, so that is worst case but here is what I think may happen- I believe Charlie will strike a royalty deal with TIVO if it looks like this thing could harm E* fiscally while the suit drags on for years. Then, it just depends on how greedy Tivo wants to be.

The press release reads a bit strange because as already stated, you can't patent a feature but you can patent a unique process to achieve that feature. TIVO would have to prove that E* is using the same process. TIVO does not have to prove E* stole the technology from them. E* could have developed it all on their own but having the same process second doesn't count! IF TIVO was granted the patent then there was public disclosure on the application and only a fool would steal the patent application design.
 

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