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Patents Media Television

TiVo Wins Appeal On Patents For Pause, Ffwd, Rwd 215

Posted by kdawson
from the satellites-descending dept.
Lorien_the_first_one writes "After years of wrangling, TiVo has won its day in court against Dish Network, formerly known as the EchoStar, when the Supreme Court declined to take up Dish Network's appeal, forcing the satellite television company to pay $104 million in damages. According to the article, 'TiVo originally won a patent infringement case in 2004 against Dish, which was then named EchoStar Communications. It charged that Dish illegally copied its technology, which allows people to pause, rewind, and record live television on digital video recorders.' Despite an injunction, Dish continued distributing its set-top boxes in the belief that the work-around they had implemented avoided infringing TiVo's patents. Now the case goes back to the lower court for review to determine if they did indeed steer clear of those patents."
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TiVo Wins Appeal On Patents For Pause, Ffwd, Rwd

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  • by Arimus (198136) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @07:26AM (#25298085)

    For $DEITY sake stop tagging stories with story tag or the gets it!

    To tag a story with story once is misfortune, to tag a story with story twice is annoying, to do it three its enemy action!

  • Re:Go TiVo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BLKMGK (34057) <morejunk4me&hotmail,com> on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @07:54AM (#25298293) Homepage Journal

    Much of this DVR technology is "obvious" now but when TIVO first began building these boxes there was no one out there doing it. some of what they do isn't really obvious either - like if you are running FFWD and hit play it will rewind just a bit to take care of overshoot. Not an obvious feature but a VERY nice one and I'm pretty sure patented.

    Whenever this story is talked about, and this has been a long running battle, everyone says the patents are "obvious" but honestly I do not think they simply patented something so obvious as the buttons found on a VCR. Instead they patented their circular buffer, the ability to watch while recording and pause without losing anything including audio\video synch. I mean really, if it was so obvious and simple why is it that every other damned commercial DVR out there sucks ass? DISH, FIOS, Direct, and all of the cable DVRs BLOW compared to the TIVO. Why is that if this is all so darned easy and obvious?

    TIVO ain't perfect but they pioneered much of this and it's pretty good software. Time they got paid by all those companies that simply copied (poorly) what they did.

    P.S. Yeah, I owned one of the competitor boxes that had auto-commercial skip too. A shame THAT got creamed :-(

  • How the hell?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @07:58AM (#25298339) Homepage

    How in the hell can you hope to patent this?

    Is this really a novel technology, or a slapping together of a bunch of existing things in a fairly obvious manner. I mean, really, the very first applications on the internet that allowed streaming video and audio supported pause, rewind, and fast forward. I distinctly remember pushing pause on things to allow the buffer to fill up over a slow dialup line. Sometimes, the slow dialup line would enforce a pause for you. ;-)

    Other than the fact that it's TV, I don't see this as being any different from real player or a bunch of things which predated it.

    This patent really should be vacated, I just can't see how "a buffer with forward and backward access" is actually a novel invention. I'm of the opinion that if you can show any application which streamed multimedia ever had pause etc then the whole patent is invalid.

    Cheers

  • by BLKMGK (34057) <morejunk4me&hotmail,com> on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @08:04AM (#25298383) Homepage Journal

    Simple - they didn't. Read the patent http://www.google.com/patents?id=IeoIAAAAEBAJ&dq=6,233,389 [google.com]

    Talks about circular buffers for viewing and recording at the same time, maintaining audio synch, running the clock FWD and back while moving through the data. To say that they simply patented being able to pause TV is pretty disingenuous!

    I short, summary is trolling crap per usual to get everyone up in arms. Real patent is a bit more complex. Granted much of this seems "obvious" now but back when TIVO first did it it was FAR from really obvious. It was going to get done by someone but back then on the hardware available it was pretty slick!

  • Re:Go TiVo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zeoslap (190553) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @08:06AM (#25298399) Homepage

    Not at all, but the DVR was not an obvious invention.

  • by jank1887 (815982) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @08:35AM (#25298675)

    Yes, topposting because the knee-jerk patent-troll comments below are annoying.

    The patent: Multimedia time warping system [google.com]
    Talks about circular buffers for viewing and recording at the same time, maintaining audio synch, running the clock FWD and back while moving through the data. (borrowing from BLKMGK's comment below [slashdot.org]) Combination of software and hardware (circuit implementation) to get the function working.

    NO, your VHS/Betamax player did not have this first, unless it could record the show and play it back at the same time, allowing you to watch different segments of the show while it kept recording. IIRC, Tivo was in negotiations with Echostar/Dish before Dish released a DVR. Tivo let them see a demo unit under NDA. Dish suddenly broke off talks with Tivo, and shortly after came out with their own DishDVR hardware. Sure enough, components infringing on the Tivo patent were found in the hardware.

    This kind of crap is exactly what the patent system is supposed to prevent, or at least provide recourse for. The system is working correctly in this case. I'm a Dish subscriber, and love using DVR (even though DishDVR is far inferior to Tivo) because the TV service is the least expensive available where I'm at. It'll be interesting to see if prices change when this settles down.

  • Re:Go TiVo (Score:2, Insightful)

    by shock1970 (1216162) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @08:39AM (#25298707)

    DISH, FIOS, Direct, and all of the cable DVRs BLOW compared to the TIVO. Why is that if this is all so darned easy and obvious?

    Maybe they blow because they didn't use TIVO's patented technology?

  • by Dun Malg (230075) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @08:48AM (#25298821) Homepage
    Did you even read the post you replied to? Their specific implementation is patented, not the concepts in general. Notice how Comcast, DirecTV, et al have not been sued, despite having set top boxes with those features?
  • Re:Go TiVo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Azghoul (25786) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @09:25AM (#25299363) Homepage

    No it's not. Every other DVR I've used just stops for a moment when you hit play, and starts from that point - It's physically impossible to get the Time Warner DVR to stop when a show starts back up coming out of commercial.

    The process ends up looking like this: FF->FF-> wait a few seconds, oops, it started, hit Play->Rew until you get back to the black interstitial, then Play again.

    On the Tivo, when your brain registers "Okay the show's back on", you hit play, and it snaps back about 5 seconds before starting to play, which is almost always right.

    It has nothing to do with MPEG encoding and everything to do with a fantastic user experience.

  • by Phreakiture (547094) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @09:33AM (#25299471) Homepage

    Dish Network is a product. Echostar Satellite LLC is the company. There is no former, only formal.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @12:35PM (#25302279)

    "Tivo let them see a demo unit under NDA. Dish suddenly broke off talks with Tivo, and shortly after came out with their own DishDVR hardware."

    If they needed to break a non-disclosure agreement in order to steal this from Tivo, then it should have nothing to do with patents.
    Patents, after all, are supposed to disclose.

  • by spire3661 (1038968) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @01:42PM (#25303563) Journal
    Digitized locally is irrelvant as is where the ring buffer is stored is too, considering patents are METHODS, not specific implementations.

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