Dale Dietrich
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DAY SIX: TiVo-EchoStar Trial (Thursday Apr. 6)

Categories: CasesPatents

- Text of “Multi-Media Time Warping Patent” in Dispute
- Claim Construction Order (August 18, 2005)
Echostar called three witnesses. First up, Tom Rhyne, TiVo’s Expert witness – a retired electrical engineering professor from Texas A&M. Rhyne testified that while there were some similarities between TiVo’s patents and Echostar’s products, there were a number of ways the Echostar box differed from the functions outlined in TiVo’s patent. Ryan, [Dale's note: stating the obvious], said EchoStar boxes do not convert analog signals into MPEG streams. He pointed out that Echostar’s boxes do not separate audio and video components, as do TiVo products [Dale's note, since Echostar's product is an all-digital end-to-end, why would it?] and therefore do not reassemble them as the TiVo patent claims [Dale's note, the unstated premise being that this is all the TiVo patent claims]. Since MPEG is already in digital format, there is no need to do the two-step conversation as is needed on TiVo boxes that use analogue inputs. Rhyne said EchoStar products do not have/use a media switch as TiVo alleges.

Next up, Dan Minnick, vice president of software for EchoStar. Minnick also testified that there was no media switch. He also testified that after Echostar’s engineers met with TiVo’s engineers “early on”, they followed-up with Echostar’s inhouse counsel, Kerry Miller and that Miller gave them a verbal legal opinion over the telephone that Echostar did not infringe TiVo’s patent [Dale's note: I wonder if Miller rues the day he gave that opinion?] Minnick said “We know we don’t have a media switch because we broadcast in MPEG, we have no need for software that will convert (television signals) to MPEG. [Dale's Note: Interesting how they are narrowly defining the scope of the patented media switch with this testimony.]. Minnick explained that an in-house e-mail from an EchoStar engineer on the day TiVo’s patent was announced saying “Oh no, tell me it isn’t so?” was a sarcastic e-mail mimicking a clay cartoon character.

Finally, Jason Demas a senior Broadcom director testified that Echostar chose to source a DVR chip from Broadcom whereas TiVo, after being approached by Broadcom to do this on a chip, opted to use software instead. On cross-examination, Demas conceded that Echostar’s boxes are capable of the same “trick play’ features of pausing, re-winding and fast-forwarding live television as outlined in the Barton patent. Demas was not aware, as TiVo’s lawyer put it, that “Echostar has demanded — if they lose this trial — that Broadcom will pay for all the damages this jury may award”.

Tom Rhyne will be cross-examined Friday April 7.

Sources: Marshal News Messenger

Dale’s Comment: It appears that EchoStar’s strategy here is to pick away at the various TiVo patent claims and to argue that because they don’t infringe claim a, b or c, that they don’t infringe the patent. TiVo only needs to convince the jury that Echostar infringed ANY claim, not every claim to succeed. Rhyn’s point that there are a number of ways in which Echostar’s products differ from TiVo’s patent, it seems to me, is beside the point. What is relevant is the way in which Echostar’s products incorporate technologies claimed in TiVo’s patent – not in the relevant or irrelevant ways in which it is different.

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