Echostar injunction stayed pending outcome of appeals process

Even though its customers were the ones getting down at nationwide TiVo House Parties this past weekend, it was the company itself that woke up with a nasty hangover. In the latest development surrounding the most drawn-out patent dispute the consumer electronics industry has seen since that RIM / NTP debacle, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has just granted DISH-parent Echostar a temporary stay on an injunction that would have shut down its DVR service and halted sales of related hardware. You probably remember that TiVo won a $74 million jury verdict in this case back in April, when the Texas panel apparently agreed with the DVR pioneer that Echostar (who also had access to an early TiVo prototype box) had violated its so-called "Time Warp" patent. After much legal posturing, the award was upped to $90 million and the satellite TV provider was given 30 days to disable the time-shifting functionality on its STBs; luckily for DISH customers, the injunction was granted a temporary stay while the merits of Echostar's appeals case were weighed. Well the court has finally ruled that Echostar does indeed have a solid case, and that the company can therefore continue offering DVR services until its appeals have been exhausted. Sounds like bad news for TiVo, until you notice a snippet of Echostar's followup press release which reads, "We also continue to work on modifications to our new DVRs, and to our DVRs in the field, intended to avoid future alleged infringement." If Echostar is so confident in its lack of culpability here, why make changes to its supposedly non-infringing devices? Stay tuned, folks, as this one's not over yet -- not by a long shot.

[Via Zatz Not Funny]