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TiVo sues EchoStar for Patent Infringement

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the there-can-be-only-one dept.

Patents 476

jhkoh writes "TiVo has filed a lawsuit against satellite TV provider EchoStar for infringing on its 'Time Warp' patent for DVR time-shifting. TiVo CEO Mike Ramsay adds: 'Our aim here is not to litigate everybody ... but to further advance and seek commercial relationships so that people recognize the value of our intellectual property, and give us fair compensation.'"

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476 comments

BUSH *WILL* WIN IN 2004 (-1)

CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897620)

Deal with it asshats.

If... (-1, Troll)

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Re:If... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7897679)

I have grown warm from all the karma you have burned today.

That 'warm' is (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7897705)

my cum gushing down your throat you fucking faggot.

who can reply to a first post? (-1, Offtopic)

(TK2)Max (736284) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897732)

COCKFACED EDWARD. HERE IS. A MESS.AGE. FOR YOU.

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YOU LOSE TK FAG, GO BACK SO SUCKING OFF THE GNAA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7897853)

BITCHASS COCKSUCKER!

Re:who can reply to a first post? (-1, Offtopic)

Mod Me God Too (687245) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897906)

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Re:who can reply to a first post? (-1, Troll)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7897996)

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WHOOHOOOO!!!! ONE FAGGOT SITE DOWN!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7898018)

Still too many to go. Including this one.

you lose fuckers (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7897621)

First! HAHAHA!

In other news... (3, Funny)

tarquin_fim_bim (649994) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897626)

Adolph Hitler sues Osama Bin Laden for infringements to his xenophobia patents.

Re:In other news... (0, Flamebait)

henriksh (683138) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897725)

I would rather say that George W. Bush sues Bin Laden for xenophobia patent infringement, but Bin Laden can point to Hitler to prove prior art.

Re:In other news... (3, Interesting)

eyegor (148503) | more than 10 years ago | (#7898015)

Sorry... The Japanese have prior art on that one.

Seriously though, Tivo was out in front on this technology and whether or not we like it, the only way that tech companies can innovate and still survive is to defend their intellectual property. They put a lot of work into their system and it's not fair for someone else to come along and steal their ideas.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I'm a Tivo stockholder and a Tivo user for the couple of years. I'm biased!

Re:In other news... (4, Insightful)

randyest (589159) | more than 10 years ago | (#7898060)

Tivo was out in front on this technology and whether or not we like it, the only way that tech companies can innovate and still survive is to defend their intellectual property. They put a lot of work into their system and it's not fair for someone else to come along and steal their ideas.

So, you think that this is a valid patent? TiVo implements a mechanical tape VCR using digital storage and processing, and suddenly an old idea with loads of prior are is patent-worthy?

I like TiVo too, but I think your bias is clouding your reason. Whoever made the first VCR should own this patent, if anyone. Moving an old idea to a new implementation is not patent-worthy, IMHO.

Time for more suits (0)

lysacor (237887) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897640)

I don't believe that he is completely honest about it, he is probably betting on it somewhere, just like Darl is betting on the SCO case :P

Uh oh? (4, Interesting)

MrPerfekt (414248) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897644)

So does this mean they'll be taking a SCO approach and be going after whomever inherited ReplayTV and other companies with DVR's on the market? Or even those OSS apps that make your Linux box into a DVR?

It's a shame because I like Tivo alot but saying you're not wanting to litigate people while suing them seems kinda silly.

Re:Uh oh? (4, Insightful)

cb8100 (682693) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897758)

"So does this mean they'll be taking a SCO approach and be going after whomever inherited ReplayTV and other companies with DVR's on the market?" Big difference here: TiVo has a patent proving its ownership of the technology. SCO is blowing smoke up everyone's ass with no proof of anything (cause it ain't true).

Re:Uh oh? (5, Informative)

WNight (23683) | more than 10 years ago | (#7898038)

A patent on a bloody idea. Pausing live TV. What's involved in that? A storage device with a write head for recording incoming data and an independently targettable read head. Wow. I'm sure glad they patented that, with ninety three claims of course and a bunch of technobabble, but essentially that.

Does anyone remember when there was at least the polite pretense of patents having to describe a new and non-obvious METHOD?

When I covered a bit of patent law in Electronics we were taught that for a patent to not be overturned, you'd need to be able to take reasonably skilled professionals in the industry and state the same problem and requirements. If they could easily independently invent the device described in the patent, the patent was too obvious.

Tivo is just trying to patent their feature list - making it impossible for anyone to create any device which provides the same functions.

Not SCO like. More RAMBUS like - flagrant abuse of the patent system.

Re:Uh oh? (1)

akac (571059) | more than 10 years ago | (#7898080)

Excuse me. But I bet that pausing Live TV is a bit harder than you describe. Even today after Tivo has been around forever, Open Source and commercial apps are taking a couple years of development to get it right - with the user interface that makes it usable. They did patent a non-obvious METHOD that they spent a huge amount of time figuring out. I doubt you came close to coming up with something like this until after a few years that a Tivo was out and even then I doubt you could write up with the software anew today.

Re:Uh oh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7897802)

This just shows me how stupid patents have become now days...why didn't the DVD creator put a patent on the idea of skipping through chapters...make it so vague that it covers anything that skips ahead any video stream...(I realize what OSS projects you're talking about MythTV and Freevo but..) oh no xine and mplayer allow people to skip ahead in video files/streams...so does realplayer...so does MS media player...they must all be infringing on their patent! I mean come on...skipping ahead has been around since VCR's...the only reason why it's different in the digital age is because you don't technically have to read every bit to get to where you want to be.

This is just absurd!...

Re:Uh oh? (1)

happystink (204158) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897848)

Reactionary FUD. Everyone who sues another company is not SCO-like. People who sue based on nothing are SCO-like, people who sue based on their patents being ripped off wholesale are just responsible.

All Together Now (5, Funny)

jazman_777 (44742) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897648)

What? TiVo has Intellectual Property? All together now, slashdotters (kneejerkers): "TiVo must die!"

Re:All Together Now (3, Funny)

fastidious edward (728351) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897695)

I have invented a method to skip TiVo's IP, therefore I do not have to be exposed to it.

HEY MODS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7897752)

Quit giving this troll karma! See all the lame ASCII crap at the top of this comment page.

PARENT IS A TROLL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7897806)

He is trying to stop legitimate poster. MOD GRANDPARENT UP IN REVENGE!

PARENT AND GRANDPARENT ARE FAGGOTS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7897833)

CUZ I SED SO!

+ FUNNY = NIL KARMA, RETARD (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7897826)

Look it up retard.

Re:All Together Now (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897750)

Nothings wrong with intellectual property.
However, I fail to see why this is new.
Computers have been able to gather data, while showing different data for years. The fact that tv changes 'data' to 'TV' does not make it different. The TV is just data.

Re:All Together Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7897885)

We all live in a Yellow Submarine,
A Yellow Submarine,
A Yellow Submarine,
We all live in a -

Eh? Oh sorry, wrong song.

"TimeWarp" Patent (4, Insightful)

Osrin (599427) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897673)

For those who can't be bothered reading the article; "The suit, filed in federal district court in Texas, alleges that EchoStar's DVR infringes TiVo's ``Time Warp'' patent, which includes the method used to allow viewers to record one program while watching another and the storage format that supports advanced ``TrickPlay'' capabilities such as pausing live television, rewinding and slow motion." This does not mean that they'll be going after every DVR producer, only those who copied TiVo without adding any thought of their own.

Re:"TimeWarp" Patent (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897713)

All it is doing is caching data. How long have we been able to utilize a computer while it's writing to the hard drive?

Unless they found a way to read and write from a hard drive, at the exact same time without a cache of some sort, this is not new. The fact that the data it is using is from TV shouldn't really matter.

Re:"TimeWarp" Patent (1)

NeoThermic (732100) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897767)

>``Time Warp'' patent, which includes the method used to allow viewers to record one program while watching another

Ohh... Technology these days...

You know... I think anyone with a correctly set up VCR can do just the same there... :P

NeoThermic

Re:"TimeWarp" Patent (1)

RetroGeek (206522) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897912)

I think anyone with a correctly set up VCR can do just the same there

I think they meant on the same box/media :-))

Mind you, some of the security VCRs can record several cameras more-or-less at the same time (alternate frames) on the same tape.

Re:"TimeWarp" Patent (1)

sheddd (592499) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897894)

This does not mean that they'll be going after every DVR producer, only those who copied TiVo without adding any thought of their own.

Seems to me they'll go after any DVR producer who implements their fairly obvious time shifting features.

Will they drop the suit if Replay 'adds some thought of their own?'

Nonsense (4, Interesting)

dachshund (300733) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897940)

This does not mean that they'll be going after every DVR producer, only those who copied TiVo without adding any thought of their own.

So Tivo has patented the idea of recording television using a) a bunch of video codecs they didn't invent, b) a bunch of commodity hardware they didn't invent, and c) the brilliant invention of rewind, fast-forward and get this... pause.

There are many original and non-obvious aspects to the Tivo design. The ability to record television, and (!!!) play it back at the same time, do not count. Give Tivo this one, within five years they'll be claiming patent infringement against anyone who records TV onto a hard-disk.

Incidentally, I remember back when Tivo obtained this patent. A bunch of Slashdot commenters-- with a "RTF(Patent)" attitude similar to yours-- made no effort to conceal their contempt for those of us who thought the patent might affect similar (but non-identical) implementations. IIRC, they made a big deal over the precise details in the claims, and how you would have to infringe upon all of those things to merit a lawsuit. Looks like things aren't quite so rosy.

So Tivo Owns Pausing Live TV now? (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897959)

CS has been teaching about seeking in and writing to a file at the same time for years. The PTO finds it innovative that they're applied it to a video or audio file? Or that you might elect to buffer a live video stream on disk to allow such operations?

Don't get me wrong, I'm a disgruntled Echostar Ex-employee and would love to see them suffer in court. In fact I may schedule a vacation, head down to texas, microwave some popcorn and enjoy a fun couple of weeks in court. I'm also a happy tivo owner and will continue to provide them revenue unless they piss me off a lot more than this suit does. But I don't think applying a basic CS process to a new type of file should be considered innovative.

Re:"TimeWarp" Patent (1)

AbbyNormal (216235) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897962)

Right, but just because you have a cleverly titled patent, does not mean that the technology should merit a patent. Honestly...pausing live television?

Its been done previously....its called BUFFERING. RealPlayer should sue too.

"any thought of their own". What else would you want on a Tivo? Were VCR making clones sued over such common features as Pause/Stop/Rewind/Play/Fast Forward?

Tivo is getting their market share swiped from their feet, and now is trying to claim "patent" infringment from their "innovative" technology.

Bah, good riddens.

Re:"TimeWarp" Patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7898037)

I can think of lots of things that would have been inovative to include with a tivo that they didn't. They did rather a decent job of covering what vcr's did well with a hd. Go Video and those twin deck vcrs? Could they watch a program off of tape and record one onto the other deck?

Tivo- the new SCO (2, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897676)

Time shifting is both obvious and trivial, and hence any patent issued is invalid. Score another clunker for the USPTO.

So, I guess we'll be seeing more stories about TiVO going down the tubes ... as if it weren't there already (oh, another parallel to SCO).

Re:Tivo- the new SCO (5, Insightful)

segmond (34052) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897696)

Yeah

Everything that makes it to the public domain is always both obvious and trivial. Everytime we hear about a new invention/method, we always go, dang, why didn't we think of that! why? cuz it seems so obvious and trivial.

Re:Tivo- the new SCO (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7897772)

Not that the VCR long demonstrated the idea, and a DVR is a VCR in another format, or anything...

Then again, perhaps you can explain what is so innovative about encoding an information stream and storing it using some arbitrary medium. Or perhaps the innovation here relies on the fact that the device can do it twice at the same time? Or perhaps the innovation is that there is enough processing power to both encode and decode separate streams at the same time?

Help me out here - I'm not sure which part of these 30 year old ideas is not obvious and trivial...

Re:Tivo- the new SCO (2, Insightful)

happystink (204158) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897874)

Okay, I will help you out: by suggesting you read the article and the patent. That'll help you more than just posting reactionary flamebait on slashdot.

Re:Tivo- the new SCO (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897910)

Check out the rules for a patent to be enforceable: It has to be both non-obvious, and non-trivial. This isn't my opinion - it's the USPTOs, and the law. :-) That's why TiVO is fucked. Patents are supposed to only be granted for non-trivial, non-obvious, innovative designs.

So, to repeat: A patent granted for a trivial modification is invalid and non-enforceable. A patent granted for an obvious implementation is invalid and non-enforceable. A patent granted for something that is not innovative is invalid and non-enforceable.

Guess that's why the USPTO has declared a moratorium on certain types of patents while it gets its' own house in order.

Re:Tivo- the new SCO (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897953)

This will not be considered obvious or trivial. which is fine, because its not.

Trivial does not mean 'trivial to experts in the field' and obvious means your average Joe would have thought it up.

There screwed because there not doing anything different then computers have been doing for a great many years.

Re:Tivo- the new SCO (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 10 years ago | (#7898026)

Considering that they got their patent in 1998, and anyone with a video capture card was able to time-shift years before (and yes, even play a file while it's still being written to), the patent isn't valid. It is obvious to any Joe 6pack with a video capture card, it's a trivial thing to do (start the capture, then open up a player in another window and start playing while you're capturing, skipping the commercials - no expertise needed there). So what's the patent for? Something that's both obvious and trivial.

So while we ultimately agree that they're screwed, we just have a different roadmap to where they end up becoming road pizza :-)

Re:Tivo- the new SCO (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897943)

It IS obvious and trivial. Quick quiz, how many people tried to do the following before TiVo came along:

o You have 50 years of stock data on disk. You want to calculate a 5-year moving average as efficiently as possible (particularly, minimizing disk IO).

o You have a security camera. You have a fixed number of video tapes. If you discover at some point that someone has stolen expensive electronics from your store, you want to go back as far as possible to try see who stole it.

o You want to write /usr/bin/tail, and you want to pipe things to it.

Yeah. It's a basic computer science concept. Security guards and programmers have implemented this thousands of times before.

Re:Tivo- the new SCO (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 10 years ago | (#7898013)

Just to clarify: all four examples use a fixed buffer that's constantly recycled to "go back in time". Yes, it's kind of cool. No, it's not worth wasting a judge's time over.

But is it the case,or the solution that's trivial? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897981)

Many of these are obvious and trivial if you simply ask the question. "How do we do X over the Internet?" "Umm basicly just like in the real world?" "Yes, but noone has done it before, let's patent it" should not be patentable.

Which is not to say that there aren't quite a few patents that are neither obvious nor trivial, even after you read them. And quite many that are obvious *after* you read them. But the patent office seems to be approving them all anyway, obvious before, after or never.

If there was a real "obviousness" test process, we could discuss if it's good enough. But from all the hilarious patents I've seen, I'd say it doesn't even exist. I swear, if you wrote it convoluted enough, you could get a patent on breathing.

Kjella

Re:Tivo- the new SCO (1)

repetty (260322) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897709)

"Time shifting is both obvious and trivial, and hence any patent issued is invalid. Score another clunker for the USPTO."

You are absolutely right.

I'm wondering if the day will ever arrive that possessing a patent will actually become a liability.

Last I read, 50% of the patent claims "defended" in court are lost.

--Richard

PS: I'm a satisfied Tivo owner.

Re:Tivo- the new SCO (1)

cheezus (95036) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897728)

The difference being that Tivo has a product that KICKS ASS, while SCO... well....

Re:Tivo- the new SCO (4, Insightful)

badasscat (563442) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897855)

Time shifting is both obvious and trivial, and hence any patent issued is invalid.

It is neither obvious nor trivial. Tell me who did real-time time shifting of TV shows (including watching the beginning of a show while the end of that same show is still recording) prior to TiVo. You couldn't do that with a VCR, and nobody was using PC's to time-shift at that time (and if they were, they didn't patent that feature - TiVo did).

The fact that it seems obvious and trivial now is a testament to how DVR's have changed our lives. There was nothing obvious or trivial about what they did when they were first invented, and that's the whole point of patents. DVR's are a major advance, an incredible invention, and one of the things that makes them so unique is the very feature TiVo is trying to protect.

All TiVo is asking for is a proper licensing deal, which it seems they're due, and which many other companies have with them already. This is not an SCO-like case. TiVo is not trying to claim something like they invented the hard drive and any device that uses a hard drive violates their copyright. They're saying their business is largely based on a particular feature of a particular device that they did patent before anybody else, and they're just trying to protect that patent and get Echostar to sign a licensing agreement with them, which Echostar should have done in the first place if their legal dept. was paying attention (it's very easy to look up a patent ahead of time). They're not claiming a generic feature of PC's as their own, or of any particular OS, and they're not claiming a patent on something that existed before they did. And they've owned this patent for a long time.

This is the sort of thing patent law was designed for. If you don't like patents in general, then you can argue against it on that position, though TiVo would likely be out of business without it. You can't argue, as I see it, against this specific patent, though. It's a perfectly reasonable sounding patent. Of course, IANAL.

Re:Tivo- the new SCO (1)

FearUncertaintyDoubt (578295) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897991)

Tell me who did real-time time shifting of TV shows (including watching the beginning of a show while the end of that same show is still recording) prior to TiVo

Networks have used a five-second delay for live broadcasts to be able to bleep swearing for years. That's time-shifting. Does it make it suddenly patentable because someone used that idea in a home PVR?

Re:Tivo- the new SCO (1)

mikec (7785) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897994)

No, I think you're wrong. It is trivial. It wasn't done because the physical media (VCRs) didn't support it. Once the physical media supported it, it was completely trivial.

Re:Tivo- the new SCO (1)

trs-sld (731828) | more than 10 years ago | (#7898029)

You make a good case in terms of the experience of a VCR user, however in the context of someone who uses a computer, I believe time shifting is trivial. Do you remember the first video you could play on your computer? How many of you just for fun opened 5 or 10 videos at once and watched them all play? For someone with with a computer and the capability to record from a video signal, these patented ideas would be arrived at by a great number of the population.

Re:Tivo- the new SCO (1)

TwistedSquare (650445) | more than 10 years ago | (#7898034)

I think that in this case the patent is perfectly fair, and that TiVo are right to do that they do. But keeping up a recent habit of mine, you say:

The fact that it seems obvious and trivial now is a testament to how DVR's have changed our lives

which makes me ask - what is TiVo take-up like in other countries besides the US? (I'm guessing by your comment its hot stuff over there). Here in the UK TiVo is not used particularly much and as far as I know Sky's equivalent isn't either (yet, anyway). Anyone able to say about the rest of the world?

Unfortunately I disagree... (1)

sterno (16320) | more than 10 years ago | (#7898075)

I'm not big on patents, but I think that the tivo features in discussion here are non-obvious. To get an idea of how non-obvious it is, go to a lay person who is unfamiliar with tivo and try to explain what's so cool about it. They will most likely go, "so it's just like a VCR", and you'll run in mental circles explaining what is cool about Tivo.

Then you sit them down in front of Tivo, hit pause, fast forward through the commercial, etc, and then it dawns on them. Sounds like non-obvious to me. As for non-trivial, that's a little harder to back.

*sigh* (4, Interesting)

irokitt (663593) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897677)

It's about time Slashdot picked up on this. So does this make Tivo a bad guy now? Probably more important though is the effect this might have on the open source time-shifting software out there.

when your company can't hang (2, Funny)

abolith (204863) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897714)

with the competitors, Litigate!

Re:when your company can't hang (2, Insightful)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897841)

This is nonsense. TiVo is a market defining brand, up there with Xerox and Kleenex. They innovated the technology, they have pushed to help the public understand what it is. Tivo all in all has been very good about letting people explore the technology in a non infringing way.

They have a right and a responsibility to their stockholders to defend their IP. If this was a open source project trying to defend itself from a company stealing its code you wouldn't be attacking them...

Go Patent Office! (4, Insightful)

Vaevictis666 (680137) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897718)

It alleges that EchoStar violated a patent related to features including a method for recording one program while playing back another.

So as prior art did they list the PC?

I'm sure I've managed to rip CDs to the hard drive as the same time I'm playing music. Sure it's audio vs video, but it amounts to the same thing don't it?

Plus, I'm not entirely sure it's valid on the non-obvious point. Not having looked at the details I would say to implement it one could just ensure that the input and output subsections are separated, and then treat them individually. Each end has enough of a memory cache to hold a few (10?) seconds of video, and the hard drive takes turns emptying the input buffer and filling the output buffer from different sections (files) on the disk.

Re:Go Patent Office! (2, Insightful)

happystink (204158) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897818)

Audio and video are not that close, read the actual patent, you might as well be saying "well i can look at an orange in my left hand while my right hand picks up another orange", your analogy is about that strong. The patent office may suck, but this one is valid, stop being so reactionary to any patent whatsoever.

Re:Go Patent Office! (1)

gerardrj (207690) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897876)

I think the Go Video dual VHS decks would have to qualify as prior art. You could record to one tape while playing from the other.
There are many other combinations possible with multiple external video sources/tuners.
I don't recall the exact capabilites of them, but I know GO had dual deck VCRs in the mid 80s, certainly that would qualify as prior art against the TiVo patent.

Re:Go Patent Office! (1)

Mike Hawk (687615) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897968)

I don't have a TiVo or this VCR, but could one record and playback the same show at the same time and just skip the commercials? Using this VCR can one record live TV, rewind what was just recorded, playback an instant replay, and all the while keep recording so that the show can be rejoined at the point the user chose to replay the live action?

Again, I don't have either product, but if it can't do those things as described in the complaint, its not quite prior art.

Re:Go Patent Office! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7898071)

read the patent - they don't claim all DVR, just a couple of specific ways of implementing it

Prior art... (5, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897727)

... by Dr. Frankenfurter:
"It's just a step to the left..."

Let's do the time warp again!

Prior art... (1)

mongoks (540017) | more than 10 years ago | (#7898008)

It's hard to imagine anything resembling "intellectual" property ever belonging to Riff-Raff and Magenta, but you are correct!

I just finished setting up MythTV... (2, Interesting)

FozzMan (23286) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897737)

...and this story worries me. Anybody with some legitamate knowledge have any opinions on this one?

- fozzy

Re:I just finished setting up MythTV... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7897886)

legitamate knowledge?! you should know better than to come to /. looking for "legitamate knowledge"...

then, again, you'll also get to meet Bill Gates, many self-pronounced "experts", oh, and let's not forget the all-important employee of the SCO collection agency :)

Re:I just finished setting up MythTV... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7897895)

Yes. My opinion is that you are a complete retard for paying 2x the money and spending 1000x the time to set up a crappy inferior dvr.

Thanks for asking.

Re:I just finished setting up MythTV... (1)

JonMartin (123209) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897988)

...and this story worries me. Anybody with some legitamate knowledge have any opinions on this one?

TiVo needs money. Does MythTV have any money? No.

Re:I just finished setting up MythTV... (1)

shepd (155729) | more than 10 years ago | (#7898062)

Also, another example (which I am now using) is VDR [cadsoft.de].

Fortunately, being open source, you can always keep using/improving it (although if it does break patent laws, you're not really allowed to).

from your friendly patent attorney (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7897763)

Again, we see the benefits of innovation being protected by patents.

Slashdotters, instead of just flaming as usual, why dont you offer more constructive comments. Just because you are end-users and not truly inventors, is why you are jealous of all the fat profits that these companies generate.

from your friendly patent attorney.

And then... (2, Interesting)

bongholio (609944) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897771)

when they win this one who might they sue next? hmmm... [ultimatetv.com] Probably a good plan on their part to start with the 'little' guys first. ;)

What a useless statement (3, Insightful)

gid13 (620803) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897792)

'Our aim here is not to litigate everybody ... but to further advance and seek commercial relationships so that people recognize the value of our intellectual property, and give us fair compensation.'

In other words, "We'll only sue you if you don't pay us lots first. We don't WANT to litigate everybody. But we will."

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Copyright and patent laws suck. I swear, if they're going to have IP laws like this, they should teach us NOT to share in Kindergarten.

Re:What a useless statement (1)

MoralHazard (447833) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897945)

That Ramsey quote just sounds like doublespeak, doesn't it? WTF does he think that it means to "litigate everybody", if not to use lawsuits to force commercial relationships to happen the way you want them to happen?

Sure, he's not suing *everybody*. Like, duh. Barring South Park, his statement is a truism (how could one literally sue everybody?). So we take the colloquial meaning of "ligitate everybody", and we have the exact practice in which he's engaging.

Even if they have a legitimate case, who in the hell is going to read a quote like that and think "Yeah, this guy's being PERFECTLY up front."

Re:What a useless statement (1)

SquierStrat (42516) | more than 10 years ago | (#7898056)

So what you're telling us, is that if you came up with a great idea for a product, not only would you not patent it, you'd tell everyone around so that you could compete with them on the free market to see who has the better product? If that were reality, then the economy would be so hideously unstable, that it would not even be funny.

They patented digital VCR? (3, Insightful)

randyest (589159) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897793)

The suit, filed in federal district court in Texas, alleges that EchoStar's DVR infringes TiVo's ``Time Warp'' patent, which includes the method used to allow viewers to record one program while watching another and the storage format that supports advanced ``TrickPlay'' capabilities such as pausing live television, rewinding and slow motion.

Huh? So I guess ReplayTV and Panasonic ShowStopper paid to license this "invention" from TiVo? I find that hard to believe, but I guess it's possible. Does anyone know for sure, or is ReplayTV (now owned by Denon&Marantz) next on the lawsuit target list? Seems odd that D&M would buy the flailing Replay without thier lawyers noting that their only product depends on an unlicensed patent owned by TiVo.

Of course, this also seems to indicate that TiVo isn't doing so well these days. I had thought they were doing OK.

Finally, I have to express my displeasure that such a patent was ever awarded. If anything, whoever patented the original VCR (assuming someone did) should hold this patent as well. Moving something from tape to digital storage and processing to provide the same features is not innovative enough to deserve a patent.

Re:They patented digital VCR? (5, Informative)

thisisimpossible (240524) | more than 10 years ago | (#7898036)

Actually Replay and Tivo made an agreement a couple of years ago as they both had key patents.

This is why you roll your own PVR (0)

Gary Whittles (735467) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897797)

I believe there was a Ask Slashdot a few weeks ago regarding building your own PVR. The majority of the comments seemed say "Why bother, just buy a TIVO/Replay TV, its already done for."

Well, this is why you roll your own. Yes, its a little more work, the cost is pretty much the same, but there is no monthly fee, and features don't get yanked out from under you.

MythTV is absolutely amazing, and its evolving incredibly fast. If your lookinng for a PVR, I recommend giving it a shot.

Sharing of ideas (1)

henriksh (683138) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897815)

Whatever happened to the free sharing of ideas?

Why is it that most people think that noone would want to work on anything without being paid tons of money?

Patent and copyright law are essentialy just manifestations of these sad, capitalistic ideas driving most of the western world.

Echostar is Microsoft Junior (5, Interesting)

Tacoguy (676855) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897849)

Hi and color me biased but Charlie Ergen and Echostar built my business only to tear it apart. I was a C-Band dealer for years (Echostar was primary wholsaler) and had a great business only to see them introduce "Dish" that was not available to the dealers that had made them a success.

I have seen the tactics of Ergen purchasing companies and assimilating technology and in some cases reverse engineering IE:Polaroter

Go Go TiVo !!


TG

WHY? (5, Insightful)

BlkPanther (515751) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897899)

Gimme a break, the first thing I have to say about this, is other companies have been doing this for years, and Tivo waits until now until to sue? It seems to me that Tivo (obviously) knew about this competitor product, and was just sitting around waiting until the competitor's product reached critical mass (with all of the promotions Dish is running, they have been distribution a very large number of these infringing DVRs). Waiting until the competition is firmly committed in their distrobution gives Tivo the largest advantage (READ: Amount of money).

In cases like this where a company waits around to sue until it will make them the most money, rather than suing to protect their property, should have their patents revoked. Patents are only around to protect inventors, not to make the inventor money (that's what the invention is for).

Atleast... (3, Interesting)

cartzworth (709639) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897905)

...he was well spoken and got his real intentions across, unlike the recording industry.

What about Panasonic, Sky+, et al? (4, Insightful)

payndz (589033) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897948)

So presumably they'll also be sueing Panasonic over their range of DVD-RAM recorders that do *exactly* the same thing, only they save to a DVD-RAM disc rather than a hard disc. Likewise the assorted combi HD/DVD recorders on the market from companies like Philips and Thomson, among others. And in the UK, they'll also be sueing Sky (AKA News Corporation... so rather a big hitter) over their Sky+ boxes, which basically do everything a Tivo does, except that Sky+ is still in business here and Tivo isn't.

I liked the idea of Tivo (though not enough to take out a subscription even when they were in business in the UK... I don't watch *that* much TV) but this lawsuit has instantly turned me against them. Claiming IP/patent rights over an *idea* rather than a *technique* is exactly the kind of bullshit thinking that is going to kill off innovation in the West and allow countries like China and India to squash us in the future even as they laugh at our unbelievable stupidity in letting lawyers rule the roost.

Once a company starts bleating about "intellectual property" and issuing lawsuits to protect it rather than actually making a product that people want to buy, then it's doomed. Last I heard, this was a free market. If not enough people want to buy Tivos to keep the company in business, then fuck 'em.

(But in true SCO style, it probably means their share price will rise, so invest now before the company dies its inevitable hideous death!)

Who's the boss of Tivo? Is he going to become the new Darl?

Ridiculous Patents (4, Funny)

mrkslntbob (731248) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897960)

Why are people just randomly allowed to patent doing things? "Tivo's can pause and rewind live TV, so they should be the only legal way to do so." So if the train company patented driving you to work, and i decided to walk, i'd be infringing on their patent and hopefully arrested before arriving to work. Justice is served.

Re:Ridiculous Patents (4, Funny)

Mike Hawk (687615) | more than 10 years ago | (#7898064)

Congratulations mrkslntbob!

I hereby award you worst metaphor of the day on the whole entire internet! By comparing TiVo to a train company and other PVR companies to walking, you have created the least applicable comparison posted on the web in the last 24 hours! Unfortunately, this distinction does not come with any cash reward, though expect someone who agrees with you to mod you up, even though it will be clear they do not understand the issue either! We also would have accepted comparing TiVo to either "like a car" or the Nazi's.

Re:Ridiculous Patents (1)

glass_window (207262) | more than 10 years ago | (#7898074)

well duh, the uspto doesn't have enough time to figure out if it is original, so when they get something questionable-sounding like "time shifting" they just figure they'll give them the patent instead of researching it and if they don't deserve it, the courts will fix the problem for them.

Corporate Petty Politics (3, Interesting)

Jonathan Quince (737041) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897977)

Does anybody know if there is any kind history between the two companies?

According to the articles, Echostar has been offering DVR-like capabilities for awhile now; the suit is just based on some of their latest features. And obviously, TiVo has also been in this business for some time. Echostar offers the product with a service, and TiVo offers the product as their primary line of business. In this type of situation, it's only natural that one might approach the other and propose some kind of deal.

Is there any chance that there is a history of offers/solicitations between the two companies, and that TiVo filed the suit because of being rebuffed?

(Disclaimer for the attorneys: This is just wild speculation based on the "sniff test". As in, this suit just seems to be a bit too much from the clear blue sky...)

revenge (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7897984)

OT: you know what I hate? fucking spammers who send their shit to my cell phone. I just got one from textmsgmarket@yahoo.com [mailto]. I have nothing to say about this topic, I'm just hoping a couple spiders will crawl this site and send spam to the collossal fuckhead behind that address. Mods: help a brother out. Leave this at 0 for a couple minutes, mkay? :-)

Exectuive -- Human translation (3, Informative)

RalphBNumbers (655475) | more than 10 years ago | (#7898027)

TiVo CEO Mike Ramsay adds: 'Our aim here is not to litigate everybody ... but to further advance and seek commercial relationships so that people recognize the value of our intellectual property, and give us fair compensation.'"

Exectuive -> Human translation:
'Our aim here is not to litigate everybody, just the people who don't pay us liscencing fees'

Meritless Case (3, Funny)

spektr (466069) | more than 10 years ago | (#7898045)

If I were up to infringe a time warp patent, I would create prior art in the past.

If this lawsuit succeeds... (2, Insightful)

jesser (77961) | more than 10 years ago | (#7898050)

it could make Tivo a target for buyout by large copyright holders. If you can't outlaw digital time-shifting, owning a patent on it is the next best thing.
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