The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a ruling against satellite TV company EchoStar, saying the company infringed on a DVR patent owned by TiVo. The ruling, which included an $94 million damage award and bans EchoStar from selling the product in question, says that EchoStar infringed on the "software" claims of the patent, but not on the "hardware" claims. EchoStar says that no customers will be affected by the ruling and that it already has a fix in place. After the ruling, TiVo's stock rose almost 30 percent to a new 52-week high. Why?
The decision won't get TiVo into EchoStar's machines. Consider that bridge burnt. But investors likely believe the ruling will strengthen TiVo's hands in negotiations with other pay-TV providers, who may fear a patent suit if they don't get in bed with TiVo. Already, TiVo provides software for Comcast DVRs.