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Injunction Against EchoStar Blocked 109

Posted by Zonk
from the judge-vs-judge dept.
bestinshow writes "ExtremeTech has the news that a judge has blocked the injunction against Echostar Communications selling its PVRs." From the article: "The ruling was the latest in an ongoing battle between TiVo, one of earliest companies to design personal video recorders, now called digital video recorders or DVRS. 'As a result of the stay EchoStar can continue to sell, and provide to consumers, all of its digital video recorder models,' EchoStar added. 'We continue to believe the Texas decision was wrong, and should be reversed on appeal. We also continue to work on modifications to our new DVRs, and to our DVRs in the field, intended to avoid future alleged infringement.'"
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Injunction Against EchoStar Blocked

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  • by free space (13714) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @07:31AM (#15939878)
    Does that mean that EchoStar can rest assured that their recorders will work indefinitely, or should they continue worrying that the blocking of the ruling can be reversed?
    • by StringBlade (557322) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @07:52AM (#15939925) Journal
      It means they still have to worry about losing on appeal and getting an injunction again, but for the time being, they can continue to do what they're doing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SeaFox (739806)
      While I'm sure Echostar can rest easy, consumers shouldn't. I was rather shocked with the initial denial of stay. Normally I don't see companies ever having to do anything about any litigation until after the last appeal is lost. A patent dispute rarely has any effect on consumers themselves in such a way as the company will have a drastic effect on their business. ...and I was rather looking forward to the outrage.

      The quick turn around on this will probably help keep the legal fight and what it means to co
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Buran (150348)
        The only DVR you can really depend on is one you own outright and can make configuration changes to for the programming data source yourself (like a Myth box).

        And if (I don't know if this applies here, just conjecturing) the patents apply to that code as well, and it can't be distributed anymore?

        If someone has a legitimate patent, and the invention was non-obvious when the patent application was made, then the only source you can depend on is the inventor's, if they choose to be sole distributor.
  • This is good. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SonicBurst (546373) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @07:33AM (#15939884) Homepage
    This is good news for consumers. With a little luck, the original judgment will be dismissed, perhaps even Tivo's obvious patent invalidated. I can't believe the case made it this far in the first place.
    • Re:This is good. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by StringBlade (557322) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @08:00AM (#15939939) Journal
      From friends who have one, I hear TiVo is a great product - far better than anything offered by Dish, DirecTV or cable companies and I'd hate to see them go out of business because of this. Additionally, Echostar seems to have played some dirty pool in getting their own DVR out the gate by peeking at a TiVo that was left behind during negotiations between TiVo and Echostar for licensing DVRs. But at the same time, I don't think that TiVo should have such a broad patent on this technology. In this case, it seems they're using their patent defensively simply to stay alive in a market that can quickly and easily be taken away from them by the satellite and cable companies that provide the content transport.

      This is a philosophically painful case for me because I want to root for TiVo because they have a superior product, but not for patents. And I want to root for Echostar because I have one of their DVRs and would hate to lose it's functionality. I also don't want to root for TiVo because a win for them will negatively impact Dish customers who through no fault of their own are being punished for Echostar's behavior. That's like Microsoft users being forced to remove the Quicktime player from all Windows installations because of some industrial espionage they did against Apple (just by way of example -- it didn't really happen).
      • Re:This is good. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Rich0 (548339) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @08:27AM (#15940008) Homepage
        Tivo came out with a GREAT product which was well marketed. However, it really was just the next technological step - apparently other companies were working on the same thing at the same time.

        Tivo enjoyed great profits from their launch, but what they want now is a lock on the market for what was essentially a small up-front investment.

        Tivo's current systems are generally superior to most of the competition. Their problem is that they are EXPENSIVE. The cable companies realized that DVRs sell service, so like cell phones they give them away in exchange for monthly contracts. Tivo is selling $400 cell phones in a market where most people expect them to be free (even if a bit more junky). This is why Tivo is losing market share fast.

        While I'd love to see Tivo win, the fact is that their original product wasn't that innovative. Others were working on the same sorts of things, but Tivo executed better. That should earn them some bucks, but not royalties for 17 years. Plus, Tivo's up-front expenses were not that high - probably not more than a few 10's of millions of dollars - they were almost certainly fully recovered with a healthy profit.

        Patents should exist where they are needed to allow companies to make healthy profits on risky ideas. However, that is all they are needed for - if a company is able to make a healthy profit without a patent, then one is not necessary. Patent lifetimes should probably be tweaked by industry as well - in industries where we expect a high level of expense to ensure quality (such as pharmaceuticals) we should probably grant longer patents (or lower the safety standards to reduce up-front costs). In an industry like toothbrush designs they should probably be shorter. Software patents should probably only last a year or two - as softare is not capital-intensive and a two year head start is plenty to make a profit.

        In general patents should exist for the benefit of society - to encourage companies to come up with innovative products. That benefits everyone. However, if a company is willing to do R&D with the promise of a 200% payback we shouldn't be offering them 20,000%.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Znork (31774)
          "Patents should exist where they are needed to allow companies to make healthy profits on risky ideas."

          Unfortunately, protection from competition breeds expenses, encourages waste and creates inefficient uncompetetive organizations.

          "in industries where we expect a high level of expense to ensure quality (such as pharmaceuticals)"

          Pharmaceuticals are a perfect example; they waste 80% of their income outside research. They spend more than twice as much on marketing and administration as they do on R&D. The
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mungtor (306258)
            "Unfortunately, protection from competition breeds expenses, encourages waste and creates inefficient uncompetetive organizations."

            Patents are needed to give people the incentive to innovate to begin with. Let's say that you come up with some novel, highly efficient form of the internal combustion engine. You put millions into research, mortgaged your house, everything. Without a patent, or equivalent legal means of protetion, some auto manufacturer could by 1 engine, tear it down, and due to the economi
            • by ultranova (717540)

              Patents are needed to give people the incentive to innovate to begin with. Let's say that you come up with some novel, highly efficient form of the internal combustion engine. You put millions into research, mortgaged your house, everything. Without a patent, or equivalent legal means of protetion, some auto manufacturer could by 1 engine, tear it down, and due to the economies of scale begin producing it more cheaply than you almost immediately. So you've just pissed away years of effort and millions of d

              • by uncqual (836337)

                ...to the point that you had to mortgage your house, you don't have enough left to take on the auto manufacturer in the court ... Therefore, your patent is completely useless ...

                You could still sell the rights to your patent to a third party. One possible customer would be another auto manufacturer who wants exclusive ownership of the technology and is willing/able to take on the legal costs to defend it. Another possible customer is a group of lawyers who specialize in these things. No, neither may be a

              • by mungtor (306258)
                First, if the patent case was clear enough there will be a lawyer that will take the case pro bono for both the money and the exposure.

                Second, you're confusing the problems with the legal system (the cost of bringing suit against a large company) with the principle behind a patent.

                Third, calling checkmate incorrectly means that you lose.

                In your world there is no reason to innovate at all, since a patent works against you and a large company will just steal your idea. So why do anything?
              • by Buran (150348)
                Therefore, your patent is completely useless, and the only thing suing the manufacturer for patent violation will do is get your patent invalidated when you run out of the money to pay lawyers to defend it.

                Excuse me, but you don't have to be rich to legitimately have an idea first. Some inventors become rich off their ideas, sure, but they didn't have a great idea because they were rich.

                Show me the part of patent law that says "to be awarded a patent you have to make more then $x a year" or "you must have m
                • by ultranova (717540)

                  Excuse me, but you don't have to be rich to legitimately have an idea first. Some inventors become rich off their ideas, sure, but they didn't have a great idea because they were rich.

                  But you do have to be rich to succesfully defend your patent against any corporation that would challenge it in court. You need to hire a lawyer and keep on paying him as long as the case lasts, and since the corporation can drag the court case so it lasts for years - just look at the SCO vs. IBM, which, while not a patent

            • by Kattspya (994189)
              See the against intellectual property report chapter nine. "In fact, only 238 out of 1035 drugs approved by the FDA contained new active ingredients and were given priority ratings on the base of their clinical performances. In other words, about 77% percent of what the FDA approves is "redundant" from the strictly medical point of view." "Research by Sandy Weisburst and mentored by me showed, for example, that Italy, with a vibrant generic drug industry, did not achieve any significant increase in the di
              • by Kattspya (994189)
                Goddamnit. Ignore my poor mangled comment. I can't even hit the preview button if I try.
              • by Rich0 (548339)
                "In fact, only 238 out of 1035 drugs approved by the FDA contained new active ingredients and were given priority ratings on the base of their clinical performances. In other words, about 77% percent of what the FDA approves is "redundant" from the strictly medical point of view."

                Well, duh. And most of those compounds are probably also not patent protected (you didn't cite a time-range, but only a few dozen patented drugs hit the market each year). If Rite Aid wants to sell their own brand of aspirin they
                • by Kattspya (994189)
                  My comment was horribly mangled and half of it dissappeared that's why I told you to ignore it. I was referring to this report, chapter nine: http://www.dklevine.com/general/intellectual/again st.htm [dklevine.com] The point was that patent protection did not increase the ammount of drugs created. It also leads to patenting of redundant drugs and redundant drugs are bad from a utilitarian perspective. Note that I nor the report are talking not talking about redundant drugs per se. Read the report if you want to. I don't
                  • by Rich0 (548339)
                    I didn't see much in that article that addressed my criticism - the author aruges that if patents really worked then most drugs should be developed in countries with strong patent laws. This is incorrect. In fact, most drug companies should invest in selling new drugs in countries with strong patent laws, and this is what happens. The lion's share of drug profits are made in the USA. However, the US does not discriminate against foreign companies with regard to patents, so there is no benefit to being U
                    • by Kattspya (994189)
                      Thank you for taking time. Have you seen any empirical evidence that supports patents?
                    • by Rich0 (548339)
                      Well, the status quo would be one form of evidence - tons of drugs on the market and patents are currently allowed. Obviously it is hard to do experimentation without making it an all-or-nothing proposition.

                      Another piece of evidence is pediatric extensions. A recent law (well, that is in the last 20 years) allowed pharam companies to extend their drug patents if they did testing on pediatric formulations of their drugs. As a result almost all major drugs are tested for pediatric use. Before the law this
                    • by Kattspya (994189)

                      "Well, the status quo would be one form of evidence - tons of drugs on the market and patents are currently allowed. Obviously it is hard to do experimentation without making it an all-or-nothing proposition. "

                      The only thing that 'status quo' shows is that patents do not devastate the medical research completely. Really convincing evidence should show a clear increase before and after patents. I'm not necessarily talking about an increase in absolute numbers mind you.

                      " Another piece of evidence is p

                    • by Rich0 (548339)
                      The only thing that 'status quo' shows is that patents do not devastate the medical research completely. Really convincing evidence should show a clear increase before and after patents. I'm not necessarily talking about an increase in absolute numbers mind you.

                      Considering that patents have been around in most lucrative markets long before drugs were developed, such evidence would be very difficult to obtain. How would you perform such an experiment short of abolishing patents? Just looking at single-coun
                    • by Kattspya (994189)
                      Much of your arguments are covered by and answered by the report. Basically it disagrees with you.

                      Thank you for the debate.

                    • by Rich0 (548339)
                      Really convincing evidence should show a clear increase before and after patents. I'm not necessarily talking about an increase in absolute numbers mind you.

                      Much of your arguments are covered by and answered by the report. Basically it disagrees with you.

                      I thought you just got done telling me that the report did not cover evidence showing (or not showing) a clear increase before and after patents. Where is this covered in the report? I'd have assumed that if you already had this info you wouldn't have ask
                    • by Kattspya (994189)
                      The report is anti patent, yes? It shows that less innovation has taken place in absolute numbers after patents are introduced.

                      I asked you to provide some sort of empirical evidence that strongly suggests that patents are beneficial. I think I did anyway, you shouldn't have answered to that malformed post as half of it disappeared.

            • by Trelane (16124)

              Let's say that you come up with some novel, highly efficient form of the internal combustion engine. You put millions into research, mortgaged your house, everything. Without a patent, or equivalent legal means of protetion, some auto manufacturer could by 1 engine, tear it down, and due to the economies of scale begin producing it more cheaply than you almost immediately. So you've just pissed away years of effort and millions of dollars. That would be OK with you?

              Nope. Particularly in the almost inevit

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Kaktrot (962696)

            "Then offer them a 200% payback. Outright. Instead of a patent creating a monopoly, let it be worth a 200% ROI for the patent holder if it gets used in products to a certain amount within the next five (or ten, or thirty) years. Paid by the patent office,"

            I'm not sure this is a good way to encourage thrift. "Hey guys, whatever you spend, you'll make double. Now go out there and invent somethin! Save your receipts!"

            Seriously, though, the red tape and government bungling that this would encourage would

          • by Glyphn (652286)

            Pharmaceuticals are a perfect example; they waste 80% of their income outside research. They spend more than twice as much on marketing and administration as they do on R&D. The protection breeds the expense which makes the protection necessary for the protected business model.

            "Waste" is presumptive, although certainly they spend a lot more than they do on research.

            Then offer them a 200% payback. Outright. Instead of a patent creating a monopoly, let it be worth a 200% ROI for the patent holder if i

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Rich0 (548339)
            Then offer them a 200% payback. Outright. Instead of a patent creating a monopoly, let it be worth a 200% ROI for the patent holder if it gets used in products to a certain amount within the next five (or ten, or thirty) years. Paid by the patent office, financed through ordinary state financing rather than a hidden economic tax in the incarnation of monopoly pricing.

            You essentially described how the phone company used to work. You know why the telephone company invented the transistor? Simple - their pro
        • Patents should exist where they are needed to allow companies to make healthy profits on risky ideas. However, that is all they are needed for - if a company is able to make a healthy profit without a patent, then one is not necessary. Patent lifetimes should probably be tweaked by industry as well - in industries where we expect a high level of expense to ensure quality (such as pharmaceuticals) we should probably grant longer patents (or lower the safety standards to reduce up-front costs). In an industry

          • Software patents are still thankfully illegal in most civilized countries, and Japanese patent law just doesn't CARE (though there's a reason the non-entertainment software industry over there is pretty dead). I'm a software developer myself, and I WANT COPYRIGHT REFORM. All of this copywrong is getting on my nerves.
          • by Rich0 (548339)
            Patents on drugs should not be lengthened because while it is very risky and expensive to do drug research, that's the nature of the business.

            If it weren't for patents it wouldn't even be a business - at least not the R&D side.

            Now, if society just wants to say that drugs aren't all that big a deal - who needs them - then maybe getting rid of patents makes sense. However, if that were really the position of society then there is another easy solution - leave the current system alone but don't buy the dr
        • TiVo has never earned a profit in all the years they have been operating. Look at their quarterly 10Qs if you don't believe me. Part of the reason they haven't earned a profit is due to the tremendous litigation expenses associated with defending their intellectual property, not to mention that some of players in the DVR market (Echostar and certain cable companies) chose not to license TiVo's technology and undercut their price for service with cheaper knock-off designs.
      • while perhaps Tivo has a superior product(which I won't comment eitherway).. the granting of patents to obvious things/concept in the long run would create a monopoly.

        Monopolies rarely in the long run, or hect short run, produce products that are inferior or of lesser value.

        Or put it in the other way, without the patent, other companies or inventors.. can produce prducts that are better. That's the nature of competition.
        • I always find the comment "the granting of patents to obvious things/concepts" amusing.

          Obvious when? To whom? Why?

          That is what patents protect. Before it is obvious. Someone has to not only come up with the idea but act on it. That last part is harder than anything.

          I agree that some patents are inherently silly, being applied for well after prior-art existed. Yet if the disk based DVR and such was so obvious why wasn't it out and established before tivo?
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by swillden (191260) *

            Obvious when? To whom?

            To a skilled practitioner of the relevant art, at the time of the invention.

            The law already defines that. It's just that it's quite hard to prove obviousness, except in the case of prior art.

            • by Buran (150348)
              To a skilled practitioner of the relevant art, at the time of the invention.

              If it was so obvious, as you claim, then the question you replied to stands: why didn't it exist before? Surely, if it was that obvious (and therefore, would be obviously a good moneymaker and obviously something people would pay for) then DVRs would have existed prior to TiVo.

              You are falling into the trap of "oh, that's as obvious as the wheel." And yet, if the wheel is so obvious to us now, why didn't ancient civilization X invent
              • by swillden (191260) *

                Surely, if it was that obvious (and therefore, would be obviously a good moneymaker and obviously something people would pay for) then DVRs would have existed prior to TiVo.

                Patentability depends on the obviousness of the invention, not the obviousness of the marketability of the invention.

                Note, BTW, that I wasn't claiming the TiVo was obvious, just answering the question about how obviousness is decided.

                • by Buran (150348)
                  Patentability depends on the obviousness of the invention, not the obviousness of the marketability of the invention.

                  And since the TiVo patents have been upheld as valid previously, it seems that the invention was indeed unobvious at the time of invention.

                  I know that this is Slashdot and all but not every patent is junk, and therefore unworthy of existence.
                  • by swillden (191260) *

                    And since the TiVo patents have been upheld as valid previously

                    Have they? I'll take your word for it.

                    it seems that the invention was indeed unobvious at the time of invention.

                    That hardly follows, either in a legal sense or in the more general sense of whether or not the patents are actually beneficial to society.

                    I know that this is Slashdot and all but not every patent is junk, and therefore unworthy of existence.

                    Agreed. However, I'd say that on a percentage basis rather few patents are not ju

              • Novelty and nonobviousness are separate requirements for patentability. You're conflating them. There is an argument for nonobviousness that draws heavily from the novelty of an invention (it invokes a long-felt unmet need satisfied by an invention to show its nonobviousness). As a DVR is just a VCR with a different storage medium, you'd have an obstacle to making such an argument.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by SonicBurst (546373)
            Yet if the disk based DVR and such was so obvious why wasn't it out and established before tivo?
            Simple...the necessary HD space just didn't exist at the time (well, economically anyway). First gen Tivos hit the street in what, 1997 or so? HDs then, 4GB to maybe 8GB if you were lucky, were just barely spacious and speedy enough to do what a DVR needs to do. The market appeared because the core technology (hard disks) had matured enough, not because of the idea of recording/viewing directly from HD had b
          • I would think the difference is between "That's so obvious, why didn't I think of that?" and "Well, yeah, that's just obvious. You just now notice that? Duh."
          • In the early 90 (94ish) I had a huge argument with a girl who thought a tabe based system could be used to record tv, all of tv. Every channel, every show, everything. Yeah I know, but it put me off on a rant about using video capture cards and harddrives out the ass to get every show you WANTED to see from any channel.

            This same chick also thought the solution to the economy was to print more money, so there ya go, but I think it shows that this can indeed seem obvious.

            It may not seem obvious when you are
      • Additionally, Echostar seems to have played some dirty pool in getting their own DVR out the gate by peeking at a TiVo that was left behind during negotiations between TiVo and Echostar for licensing DVRs.

        This is kind of meaningless. What's actually been said is that TiVo left behind a technology sample which Echostar failed to return, claiming not to know its whereabouts. Far from being suspicious, I'd imagine this is relatively normal and Echostar's inability to return the machine has nothing to do wi

        • Finally, some real wisdom here. There is nothing inheritently unique about watching one show while recording another, no more than any multitude of various VHS manufacturers allowing you to hit record and the TV/VCR button simultaneously after the Betamax sets, albeit recording in different formats.

          * The real thrust of TiVo's case (which is apropos for all of us silicon wafer heads who ever signed an NDA) is the fact that Echostar hired a TiVo engineer some time back to develop a similar PVR before TiV

          • by Buran (150348)
            For anyone to compare a current Echostar DVR offering to an antiquated TiVo is just plain silly.

            Oh, really? Then why is it that thousands of people who have used both TiVo and other products (like me; I've used TiVo, ReplayTV, and a generic) think that nobody can touch TiVo's usability? I'd say that there is quite a lot of opinion that TiVo really knows how to make something usable, and nobody else has managed anything more than a kludge.

            There are also a lot of people out there who switch thinking the compe
      • by Monoman (8745)
        DISCLAIMER: I do own a few Tivos and like them very much.

        Tivos are a great product and I agree that Echostar deserves what they get if they "played dirty pool". I have not done enough research to know if Tivo's patent is too broad.

        This Tivo patent may seem obvious and broad by today's standards but that may not have been the case when they applied for the patent. Patents exist so inventors can try to benefit before the vultures swoop in and capitalize in on someone else's work.

        Tivo needs to get their act to
      • by blakestah (91866)
        But at the same time, I don't think that TiVo should have such a broad patent on this technology. In this case, it seems they're using their patent defensively simply to stay alive in a market that can quickly and easily be taken away from them by the satellite and cable companies that provide the content transport.

        I think this is EXACTLY what patents were made for.

        The cable and satellite companies control the flow of content. TiVO had no say about that. They have an invention that makes the content more va
        • by Buran (150348)
          This is not defensive patents - like the Wright bros who tried to take a toll from all airplane makers.

          The Wright patent was about the wing-warping control system on aircraft. Part of the result of that litigation was that an alternate method (ailerons, elevators) was developed, which is now by far the most common method.
      • If you read the articles, it shows even more desperation by TiVo.

        TiVo vs Echostar- Echostar is infringing on patents owned by TiVo that allow for the recording of one program while watching another program (aka, anything one can normally do with a VCR) on a DVR.

        Echostar vs TiVo- Tivo is infringing on patents owned by Echostar that allow for the pausing, rewinding, and re-forwarding) of live TV on a DVR.

        Personally I'd be more afraid for TiVo when the other lawsuit comes to a head. Echostar's violation isn'
        • WTH? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mgkimsal2 (200677)
          Good lord I would have thought this would have been obvious to anyone who's used a DVR for awhile, but apparently it's not...

          allow for the recording of one program while watching another program (aka, anything one can normally do with a VCR) on a DVR.

          Look at a VCR. It holds one video cassette.

          Look at a DVR. It holds one hard drive (usually).

          Try recording to a VCR while watching another program on the same tape (or on a different tape). It's physically impossible. Recording to and watching from the same
          • Does TiVo's patent explicitly state that it's recording to, and reading from the same media at the same time? I was making a point that you could be recording one program with the DVR while watching another in normal TV mode. With Echostar's Satelite dish's, unless you have a dual tuner model, this is directly impossible within the same unit regardless.

            I find it funny that you choose to argue an analogy (semantics in this case) instead of any other point.

            And basically you're trying to tell me that TiVo pa
            • Does TiVo's patent explicitly state that it's recording to, and reading from the same media at the same time? I was making a point that you could be recording one program with the DVR while watching another in normal TV mode. With Echostar's Satelite dish's, unless you have a dual tuner model, this is directly impossible within the same unit regardless.

              If you're saying what I think you're saying here, ie: that a dish dvr can't record one show and watch another one that it has already recorded at the same
            • by mgkimsal2 (200677)
              Not funny at all. I've posted on this tivo stuff before, and just chose not to get in to it all again. One of the big points of the Tivo technology argued during the case was the 'time warp' function. Tivo's page about the lawsuit - http://investor.tivo.com/ReleaseDetail.cfm?Releas e ID=207787 [tivo.com] - mentions the 'time warp' patent: "The Time Warp patent discloses systems and methods for the simultaneous storage and playback of programs, supporting advanced capabilities such as pausing live television, fast-fo
      • My Dish PVR has a 30 sec forward button on it. No "secret" code required.
    • by sdnoob (917382)
      yea!

      i just noticed the original ruling was in *TEXAS* --- it wasn't in that one particular patent-whore friendly federal court was it? if it was, that definately explains the early tivo win, but now that the case is on appeals (and outside of that court), maybe things will be different (read: right).
    • by Buran (150348)
      With a little luck, the original judgment will be dismissed, perhaps even Tivo's obvious patent invalidated.

      The idea of a DVR may be obvious now. But was it obvious then? TiVo was the first to market a DVR and they invented the market. The rest are just trying to profit off the idea (and producing inferior product while at it, something which ruins TiVo's reputation).
      • Yes, it was obvious even then. There are plenty of examples of prior art, just google for them. Like both myself and others have said in previous posts in this thread, the reason Tivo came out when it did wasn't because of the idea of HD based recording/viewing, it was just that drive technology had just reached the point of capacity, speed, and price that it was economically feasible to do it.

        Credit to Tivo for getting there first (commercially), no doubt, and I still think they have the best dvr out
        • by Buran (150348)
          Yes, it was obvious even then. There are plenty of examples of prior art, just google for them.

          "Just search Google" is not a valid citation; and, since the TiVo patents have been held to be valid upon a prior examination, it would seem that existing "prior art" was not accepted as valid prior art, so it would seem that no, the invention was not obvious at the time.
  • by Chaffar (670874) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @08:05AM (#15939950)

    Consumers win, consumers lose... all of this is irrelevant, the truth is that we have a sh*tty patent system that's vague enough to have two judges give 2 different verdicts on the same case.

    In all cases I believe that it is wrong to make EchoStar stop its service immediately, and to remotely disable the current consumers. Consumers that have already paid shouldn't be the ones to bear the consequences. But then again, the consumers' interest is the least of the worries of those concerned...

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by LindseyJ (983603)
      Consumers win, consumers lose... all of this is irrelevant, the truth is that we have a sh*tty patent system that's vague enough to have two judges give 2 different verdicts on the same case.

      So in other words, no different from any other aspect of our legal system, in which judges are about as likely to legislate from the bench as they are likely to judicate according to the law.
      • by qurk (87195)
        Yep! Just like this case: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/15/opinion/15tues4. html?ex=1313294400&en=687375003b802612&ei=5090&par tner=rssuserland&emc=rss [nytimes.com] I totally agree with you that the judges like to legislate from the bench!! This case of Tivo vs. Echostar is an example of the legal system working, I agree that you were a troll by throwing in your Rush Limbaugh talking point in this forum :)
    • Consumers win, consumers lose... all of this is irrelevant, the truth is that we have a sh*tty patent system that's vague enough to have two judges give 2 different verdicts on the same case

      Two judges didn't give "2 different verdicts on the same case." A federal district court in Texas granted an injunction and Echostar appealed for immediate relief to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit -- the court which oversees all patent appeals. The Federal Court temporarily block the injunction granted b

  • And in Monday's news, a judge has overruled the judge, who overruled a judge, to initiate the stayed injunction that had been initiated. Holy Hell, after re-reading that, my eyes are bleeding!
  • This is nearly automatic, but it is only a stay of execution for EchoStar. Unless there was some horrible mistake made by the judge, it's only a matter of time, and only gives EchoStar the chance to negotiate with TiVo to either get bought or pay licensing rights. In the meantime, that giant sucking sound you year is EchoStar's revenue going out the window.
  • Not only does the summary not let me know what the case was about - I assume some kind of patent infringement - the article is missing this information too. In fact, the summary is a straight word for word copy of the article, which is itself about 4 lines long - the only thing in the article that's missing from the summary is a typo in which it claims TiVo were awarded almost 74 billion dollars.
  • MythTV (Score:2, Informative)

    by Lars83 (901821)
    OSS, no subscription fees, fairly straightforward to build.

    Also, you OWN the recordings once you've made them.
    • Did the copyright laws change?
  • This is patently stupid. They patented being able to review one show while recording another. Wouldn't the VCR have prior art on this? Maybe they mean reviewing a previously recorded show while recording another. In which case I'm sure there is some "high end" dual-deck VCR out there capable of this back in the 80s.
    • by Buran (150348)
      They patented being able to review one show while recording another. Wouldn't the VCR have prior art on this?

      A VCR can only record the channel being fed into it, and has to position the tape in a particular position to write the data, so no.

      The TiVo can read from one sector of the disk to play back a program and then x milliseconds later, write to another sector to write part of the program being fed into the tuner. Physically not possible for a VCR, but quite possible for a computer. (Technically speaking,
  • I don't believe that the ideas behind the TiVo were obvious before they designed a box. While the TiVo is the next generation of a VCR, significant improvement went into the product before it was released. They built a very good service with some pretty decent hardware and showed it to the wrong people.

    This is very much akin to the old netscape scenario, Netscape (Tivo) built this new thing called a web browser. Some folks at Microsoft (Echostar) took a look at it and said, "If we build that and add it to
  • Earlier Friday, a Texas court had ruled that EchoStar was forbidden to sell its DP-501, DP-508, DP-510, DP-721, DP-921, DP-522, DP-625, and DP-942 DVRs, and that customers would be forbidden to use them within 30 days of the ruling.

    Dear mr. judge - has anybody yet told you today to go play with yourself?
    </opinion>

  • We also continue to work on modifications to our new DVRs, and to our DVRs in the field, intended to avoid future alleged infringement.'

    I have a Dish Network DVR, and as of yesterday one of the features I like has quit working. This is the onscreen display of minutes remaining you can receive when you press the Select button during playback. I found that information useful, and miss it. It pisses me off that they can so easily remove functionality after I've agreed to take and use the unit as offered a

Prototype designs always work. -- Don Vonada

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