1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Coverage of TiVo/Echostar Trial

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by Dajad, Mar 30, 2006.

  1. Mar 30, 2006 #1 of 1009
    Dajad

    Dajad New Member

    1,534
    0
    Oct 7, 1999
    Toronto
  2. Mar 30, 2006 #2 of 1009
    HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

    5,556
    0
    Nov 27, 2002
    The instructions the judge gives the jury will be very interesting to read.
     
  3. Mar 30, 2006 #3 of 1009
    jmoak

    jmoak Beware of Conky!

    2,574
    0
    Jun 20, 2000
    florida
  4. Mar 30, 2006 #4 of 1009
    Dajad

    Dajad New Member

    1,534
    0
    Oct 7, 1999
    Toronto
    If anyone finds them online, please post them here, or pm me. I would like to add them to my site as well. Also, if anyone has the pleadings in this case, I'll post'm too.

    ...Dale
     
  5. Mar 31, 2006 #5 of 1009
    Dajad

    Dajad New Member

    1,534
    0
    Oct 7, 1999
    Toronto
  6. Mar 31, 2006 #6 of 1009
    samo

    samo New Member

    1,793
    0
    Oct 7, 1999
    Littleton,...
    Dale, it would be interesting to hear your personal comments on how this trial is going based on your experience as an attorney. My layman feeling is that optimism by investment firms is a classic "pump and dump" and repeating statements implying that Marshal's residents are stupid and go with emotions do not help to change that feeling. But I have zero experience in court, so my opinion is biased by my engineering background. I would like to know what your opinion is. Besides being smart you are also practicing law. :)
     
  7. Mar 31, 2006 #7 of 1009
    mtchamp

    mtchamp New Member

    637
    0
    May 15, 2001
    MA
    http://www.marshallnewsmessenger.com/news/content/news/stories/2006/03/31/20060331MARtivo.html

    Electrical engineer called as expert witness by TiVo

    |By SANDRA CASON, News Messenger|

    Friday, March 31, 2006

    A former Texas professor testified Thursday in federal district court that EchoStar infringed on television technology patented by TiVo.

    Jerry Gibson was called as an expert witness by TiVo in a case that could impact the cost of television set-top boxes in the future.

    Gibson took the stand on the second afternoon of the trial being heard by a five-man, five-woman local jury in U. S. Court for the Eastern District of Texas in which EchoStar attorneys said they expect TiVo to seek at least $100 million in damages.

    Testimony continues 9 a.m. today in the Sam B. Hall Jr. Federal Courthouse.

    Gibson took the stand after TiVo co-inventor Jim Barton completed his testimony. The first witness called by plaintiffs' attorneys was co-founder of the company, Michael Ramsay.

    Gibson, a professor of electrical engineering in Santa Barbara, Calif., said he evaluated six set-top boxes manufactured by EchoStar with an eye to discover similarities between them and the "Barton time warp patent."

    Responding to questions from Andrei Iancu (pronounced Yankoo), Gibson said he examined a number of EchoStar boxes and found they are similar to 11 claims of their equipment's capability made by TiVo inventors in their patent.

    Iancu is a member of the Los Angeles, Calif., law firm Irell & Manella.

    Gibson said he prepared "tutorials" for lawyers trying the case and also assisted in preparation of a series of animated slides shown to the jury during his testimony.

    These explained how a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) works, and to show how the system is able to re-play live television, Gibson used an on-screen presentation of a touchdown pass made by the Dallas Cowboys in a win over Philadelphia this past season.

    "I'm a Cowboys fan," the transplanted Texas resident said. In listing his qualifications to testify regarding television patent infringement, Gibson said he completed an undergraduate degree in engineering at University of Texas at Austin and received a master's degree and doctorate from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

    In addition, Gibson said he taught at Texas A & M University from 1976 to 1997 and was chairman of the electrical engineering department at SMU.

    Gibson said he has done research in multi-media compressions – a system known as Mpeg, (motion picture experts group).

    The media switch Barton claims he invented is the technology required to make a DVR "viable," Gibson said. The reason is that TiVo's "media switch off-loads the Central Processing Unit (CPU) so it won't have to handle all that data," a move which lowers the cost of the set-top box.

    Before Gibson began his testimony, presiding Judge David Folsom told jurors he had ruled "copying is not an issue in this case." Noting the ruling would later be submitted in writing, Folsom also said the jury could make a finding of patent infringement even if EchoStar did not copy the TiVo box.

    Responding to questions from TiVo attorney Morgan Chu, Barton indicated just that, however, and his testimony was interrupted by objections from EchoStar attorney Rachel Krevans, a partner in the San Francisco, Calif., firm of Morrison Foerster.

    Barton began his testimony Thursday morning by holding up an "official copy" of the patent for his "multi-media time warping system."

    The announcement that it had been granted by the U. S. Patent Office generated "a great deal of excitement among our investors," he said. "Our stock doubled in price the next day.

    "We had hoped we'd be wildly successful, but a number of things conspired to delay" that, he added. He referred to the "nuclear winter in Silicon Valley" during which "money dried up.

    "In Silicon Valley, people are not paid very well at all," Barton said. "The pay-off comes when what you invent goes public and stock options improve."

    When he left Bell Laboratories after beginning his career there as an entry-level engineer, Barton said he and Ramsay in August of 1997 formed the company today known as TiVo.

    Very early on, he testified, he took "a prototype" of his invention to EchoStar in the hopes of negotiating a business deal. The company's chief executive officer asked Barton to leave the box with them and promised to return it the next day.

    "Rather naively, perhaps, we left it," Barton said. "I don't ever remember seeing that prototype again."

    On a second meeting, requested by EchoStar engineers, Barton said "we actually opened up our boxes and show them how they worked. We had a rather animated discussion. We were engineers and we wanted to show off our work."

    At the time of the first session, Barton said the TiVo system had not yet been patented, a situation that had changed by the second meeting.

    Barton said the purpose of the meetings with EchoStar was "in support of the fact that we had what it took to be a viable partner in delivering a product to their customers."

    While he said he never threatened the company with a lawsuit, "we mentioned we were very vigorously pursuing patents."

    Of court action, Barton added: "I've always been disappointed we didn't move sooner" against those thought to be "stealing our technology."

    Over objections of defense lawyers, Barton showed the jury the main circuit board of the media switch, which he claims to have invented. Holding it up, he pointed out "the smiley TiVo face.

    "The overarching principle (of the TiVo box) is that the costs were lower because it needed less memory. The design was cheaper and we could actually sell it to real people out there in the market."

    Barton said his invention can perform "trick plays," like fast-forwarding and freeze-framing. "Trick plays is a generic term we use to describe anything other than normal TV watching," he explained.

    "It's all about you sitting in front of the TV and getting all the enjoyment you can," Barton added.

    In opening statements Wednesday, EchoStar attorney Harold J. McElhinny said TiVo planned to ask for "at least $100 million" in damages.

    In addition to what it might receive for patent infringement, if the jury finds for TiVo, it could sue cable companies that offer other set-top boxes, or at least force them to pay licensing fees, according to The Associated Press.

    EchoStar, which operates Dish Satellite Network, earned $1.5 billion on sales of $8.4 billion last year, while TiVo has never shown a profit. Its 2005 sales were $172 million, AP said.

    EchoStar has filed a countersuit, scheduled for trial next year in Texarkana's federal court.

    Contact staff writer Sandra Cason via e-mail at: scason@coxnews.com; or by phone at (903) 927-5969.
     
  8. Mar 31, 2006 #8 of 1009
    dt_dc

    dt_dc Mostly Harmless

    2,013
    0
    Jul 31, 2003
    Northern...
    Playing to the jury just a little bit?
     
  9. Mar 31, 2006 #9 of 1009
    Dajad

    Dajad New Member

    1,534
    0
    Oct 7, 1999
    Toronto
    Thanks for the new link mtchamp, I'll add that one to the site as well.

    Samo, I'm a corporate/commercial/tech lawyer. My job is to keep people out of court in the first place. Other than as a law student 12 years ago, I've never set foot in a court. But, more importantly, the concept of a jury trial for a patent case is doubly foriegn to me. We don't have jury trials for patent cases in Canada (at least not that I'm aware of).

    What will really likely matter in the long term is the appeals process. The looser will almost certainly appeal. The jury will not be part of the appeals process (unless an appeal remands the case back for another trial). What judges say on technical and legal matters is usually much more interesting from a legal/practical standpoint than jurors.

    And, of course, if there is anything to Echostar's countersuit (to be tried next year) we could end up with cross-licensing as part of any final settlement.

    We'll see.

    ...Dale
     
  10. Mar 31, 2006 #10 of 1009
    Puppy76

    Puppy76 Active Member

    1,203
    2
    Oct 6, 2004
    How do you guys feel about this? As a principle, I'm opposed to our screwy patent system where you can patent anything and everything, and any product runs into other companies patents. I hate it, and think it should change.

    As long as it's like this though, I guess I'd like to see Tivo do well in this suit. It would be about time a small company got to use patents against a larger company-epecially a small company that's actually USING those patents and was clearly a huge innovator in the space.
     
  11. Apr 2, 2006 #11 of 1009
    Dajad

    Dajad New Member

    1,534
    0
    Oct 7, 1999
    Toronto
    Puppy, there is a serious review of the patent system underway right now to deal with the problem of patent trolls. Personally, I believe the patent system could deal with some reform in this regard.

    Here's my latest summary of Friday's proceedings:

    http://daledietrich.com/imedia/2006/04/01/day-three-tivo-echostar-trial-fri-mar-31/

    Professor Gibson continued his testimony. He compared six EchoStar PVRs and believed they all contained infringing "trick play" functionality covered by TiVo's patent, including replaying live broadcasts in slow motion, recording of the current live programming, fast-forwarding, freeze-framing, pausing and re-starting live broadcasts. After cross, EchoStar's counsel, Rachel Evans asked the judge to strike Gibson's testimony arguing that he is not an expert computer programmer/researcher as is Echostar's upcoming expert witness. Gibson countered that he has written software since he was 18 and reviewed student software as a professor. The judge refused to strike his testimony ruling that Gibson was indeed an expert. There will be no proceedings on Monday. The trial continues on Tuesday.
     
  12. Apr 3, 2006 #12 of 1009
    Puppy76

    Puppy76 Active Member

    1,203
    2
    Oct 6, 2004
    Whaaaat? Why would it take an expert to see if a product can pause live TV, etc.? :D
     
  13. Apr 3, 2006 #13 of 1009
    Atomike

    Atomike New Member

    292
    0
    Jun 12, 2005
    I agree that this is simpy stupid. The fact that Tivo was actually able to patent these concepts shows how innane our laws are.
    I'm surprised the Thomas Edison estate has not sued Tivo - since they obviously stole the concept of skipping through material from Edison's phonograph.
    Regardless of how this case turns out, I think Tivo has lost a PR war in the courts of public opinion. Stifling technology for the sake of a few bucks makes folks mad.
     
  14. Apr 3, 2006 #14 of 1009
    Dajad

    Dajad New Member

    1,534
    0
    Oct 7, 1999
    Toronto
    For something to be patentable it has to be new or novel. Looking through the lens of 2006 pausing live TV isn't novel.

    But when I first saw it done on my TiVo in 1999, you can bet I thought that trick-play was new and novel and CERTAINLY worthy of patent protection.

    ...Dale
     
  15. Apr 3, 2006 #15 of 1009
    ZikZak

    ZikZak Neurostim Addict

    2,894
    0
    Aug 12, 2002
    Arecibo, PR
    On your page, you summarize by saying in part that the judge has ruled that the jury can find E* in violation, even if they did not directly copy the technology. On the other hand, he also said that copying is not an issue to be decided in the case. One sounds good for tivo, the other sounds not so good.
     
  16. Apr 3, 2006 #16 of 1009
    Sirshagg

    Sirshagg New Member

    347
    0
    Dec 26, 2001
    absolutely. Today it does not seem like a big deal but 7 years ago it sure was.
     
  17. Apr 3, 2006 #17 of 1009
    lajohn27

    lajohn27 Fanboi.. So what?

    915
    0
    Dec 29, 2003
    Canada
    The guts of the patent aren't so much about pausing television per se.. but the media switch that Barton created that allowed them to handle the massive streams of data with low cost hardware... which in turn, allowed you to pause live TV etc.

    THAT was -- more than anything else -- what was novel and is a major element of the patent that is being defended with this suit.

    J
     
  18. Apr 3, 2006 #18 of 1009
    HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

    5,556
    0
    Nov 27, 2002
    So where does this leave them...?
     
  19. Apr 3, 2006 #19 of 1009
    lajohn27

    lajohn27 Fanboi.. So what?

    915
    0
    Dec 29, 2003
    Canada
    HD:

    Those are standard warnings posted in their SEC documents BEFORE they received their final patent approval two years later. Tho at the time that document was written - it was far from certain that TIVO's patent would be approved ... therefore they need the cautionary boilerplate language in SEC filings to cover their butt.

    So it leaves them exactly where they are.

    And again - more than anything - this case hinges on the media "switch" functionality that Barton created ... than just 'pausing live TV' per se.
     
  20. Apr 3, 2006 #20 of 1009
    Dajad

    Dajad New Member

    1,534
    0
    Oct 7, 1999
    Toronto
    Regrettably we are relying on a third party reporter for these stories. But, those two points made by the judge lead to the conclusion.

    Unlike COPYright, where infringement can be found merely on copying (hence the word "COPYright"), under patent law the infringer is not liable solely for copying a technology. Rather, they can be found to infringe however they manifest the patented idea. So, for example, a person can be found to infringe another's patent without ever having copied the method of exploiting the patent exactly. So long as their product embodies that which is covered by the patent, they can be found liable - even if the embodyment (in this case Echostar's PVR's innerworkigns) is substantially or totally different than another legitimate emboyment (in this case TiVo's PVR's inner workings).

    So as I understand this statement by the judge, the jurors must look beyond whether or not Echostar merely copied TiVo's embodyment of the patent, but rather they must look to see if Echostar infringed the patent's covered claims in Echostar's product embodyment even though it may be different than TiVo's.

    I hope this helps.

    ...Dale
     

Share This Page