The Federal Circuit today upheld an East Texas jury’s award of $73,991,964 to TiVo for patent infringement by satellite television provider EchoStar. TiVo, Inc. v. EchoStar Communications, No. 06-1574 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 31, 2008).
The court overturned the district court’s judgment to the extent it held EchoStar liable for deployment of infringing hardware — digital video recorders or DVRs — but affirmed as to liability for use of infringing software. Because the jury award (of lost profits plus reasonable royalties) didn’t differentiate between hardware and software claims, the court allowed the money part of the judgment to stand, too.
For Blawgletter’s fellow Luddites out there, a DVR lets you "time shift" your television programming. It saves the content to a hard disk and allows you to play it back, fast forward through it, and do other nifty stuff with it. Assuming of course you know how to operate the DVR.
Blawgletter doubts that EchoStar will enjoy the return visit to Texarkana. Further proceedings may result in a finding of hardware infringement under the doctrine of equivalents. Worse, they probably also will produce an additional award — to cover infringement that happened between the time of trial and resolution of the appeal. The Federal Circuit stayed an injunction during the pendency of the appeal in August 2006.