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TiVO Patent Upheld, Dish May Have to Disable DVR

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the warped-decisions dept.

Media 235

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a ruling by a lower court that Dish Network DVRs infringe upon TiVO's patent on a 'multimedia time warping system'. According to some analysts, this could not only make Dish liable for damages, it could force them to shut down their DVR service, harming their customers. The patent in question has already been reexamined once and the ruling on appeal (PDF) was unanimous."

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Meh (1)

milsoRgen (1016505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22270714)

I like the dish service.. but aside from my PC I have no experience in the DVR world. Seems much ado about nothing to me.

Re:Meh (1)

parodyca (890419) | more than 6 years ago | (#22270856)

I already what all the TV I want. No commercials, Pause and start when ever I want. More shows then I could ever possibly have time to watch. No Cable or Satellite bills either. It's called bittorrent. Arrrrrrr, long live TPB!

MythTV (4, Interesting)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 6 years ago | (#22270718)

I wonder if this will have any effect on MythTV [mythtv.org] ?

Re:MythTV (3, Funny)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271702)

I assume so. I mean look how quickly opensource solutions to mp3 encoding,dvd decrypting, and other such things were dropped because of US patents and such. Oh, wait...

Not so fast (5, Informative)

Itsallmyfault (1015439) | more than 6 years ago | (#22270724)

As I understand it, Dish Networks has pushed upgrades to their units, resolving any infringment issues. Deactivating DVRs isn't on the table.

What does the update do? (2)

Xenographic (557057) | more than 6 years ago | (#22270910)

Because TFA [arstechnica.com] mentions an update that disables the 'multimedia time warping' bit:

Last, and perhaps most troubling for Dish, the company faces the very real possibility that it will be barred from selling DVRs and forced to disable the functionality on devices already in customers' homes.

(emphasis added)

Nope (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22270918)

Hardly. They're just trying to avoid investor and customer panic. The reality is that the TiVo timewarp patents are so broad that there's really no way Echostar can work around them without removing significant (and frankly necessary) functionality from their DVR.

Do yourself a favor and actually read the patents.

Re:Not so fast (1)

tm2b (42473) | more than 6 years ago | (#22270922)

That's Dish's attorneys' position. I'm sure TiVo's attorneys feel otherwise.

Expect more court dates.

Yes You are rite (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22270926)

I totally agree with you. Regards Muddabir.aziz@xperts.net.pk

Re:Yes You are rite (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22271086)

Ouch you really have a grudge against that Muddabir Aziz don't you?

Not so fast TiVO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22270728)

And there's a patent on DVR tech that Dish Network has that TiVO is in violation of. I don't think TiVO will be stupid enough to push it because if they do, Dish could pull the same stunt against them and screw them out of business. Dish still sells TV service regardless. What does TiVO do without it's box?

Not so fast TiVOization. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22270804)

"What does TiVO do without it's box?"

Stop pissing off GPLers.

Re:Not so fast TiVO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22271018)

Maybe this was in response to that patent? If another company had the proverbial knife to my throat, I would sure be trying to grab their balls. A no-win situation can also be a no-lose situation if you convince everyone not to play.

The VCR is a Multimedia time warping machine... (4, Interesting)

okmijnuhb (575581) | more than 6 years ago | (#22270730)

...isn't that prior art?

No... (1)

Hellad (691810) | more than 6 years ago | (#22270776)

No, if you look at the patent the device allows you to watch one program while taping another. VCRs taped what they were tuned to; if you wanted to watch something else you had to typically tune one channel with the VCR and one on the TV. There is obviously more to the patent than just that, but this was the immediate difference that I noticed.

Re:No... (1, Insightful)

niklask (1073774) | more than 6 years ago | (#22270818)

No, if you look at the patent the device allows you to watch one program while taping another.
Which most "modern" VCRs could do.

VCRs taped what they were tuned to; if you wanted to watch something else you had to typically tune one channel with the VCR and one on the TV.
Which most VCRs did. They had a separate tuner and allowed the analog signal to also pass through to the TV.

There is obviously more to the patent than just that, but this was the immediate difference that I noticed.
But it really isn't the difference.

Re:No... (1)

Romancer (19668) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271040)

I think you missed the point.

The "watching one program" part of DVRs is not just passing through a signal that the tv then displayed. It is the timewarping method of being able to record a program to the device and watch another previously recorded program from that same device at the same time.

VCR single tasking != DVR multitasking

Re:No... (3, Informative)

jack455 (748443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271330)

As I just wrote, there was a dual deck dual tuner VCR from Govideo that recorded while it played back recordings. You could also look at thousands of security devices that did this

Re:No... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22270830)

I used to watch one show while taping another on my VCR all the time. (It was the whole reason we bought a VCR!) Is the entire patent based on "you can set both channels on one device"? If so, it's worse than I feared, because that's a mind-bogglingly obvious feature, considering we were simply doing it by hand for the past 20 years.

Re:No... (2, Informative)

Romancer (19668) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271048)

Again, someone missing the point about VCRs.

Could you record one program and watch another previously recorded program at the same time? Could you pause a live signal and keep recording while you answered the phone or went to the bathroom?

That's the main difference between a DVR and a VCR. Multitasking recording and playback at the same time, not just passing through the signal for realtime viewing while recording something else.

Re:No... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22271090)

I was only responding to Hellad's claim that the point of the patent is that "the device allows you to watch one program while taping another".

If you think the thrust of the patent is something else, that's nice, but it's not what I was responding to.

Thanks for paying attention.

Re:No... (4, Informative)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271154)

I believe it was GoVideo that had the two tape VCR. With this VCR, you could record one show and watch another previously recorded program. You could also start recording a show from the point you wanted to get up. This would allow you to continue watching from the point that you left off. In essence pausing.

Re:No... (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271378)

That's the main difference between a DVR and a VCR.

No, actually, that's the fundamental mode of operation of digital capture cards. They more or less require you to bounce the stream through the OS, from where you can watch, pause it, play with it. They usually have only one tuner per ADC chip, and usually no passthrough.

In fact, making a device with multiple capturecards that _couldn't_ record and play at the same time would be more work.

Re:No... (3, Informative)

jack455 (748443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271322)

The dual deck, dual tuner Govideo VCR predated Tivo by MANY years. Two tuners allowed recording of one program while you either recorded or watched another. I worked in the industry throughout. I believe ReplayTV predated them as well.

Re:The VCR is a Multimedia time warping machine... (3, Insightful)

filbranden (1168407) | more than 6 years ago | (#22270824)

Also, DVR permits you to watch the program while taping it, in a way that allows you to "pause" it and continue later. This ability is included in TiVO's patent. There's no way to do this with a VCR, so it doesn't count as previous art for it.

Re:The VCR is a Multimedia time warping machine... (2, Insightful)

multisync (218450) | more than 6 years ago | (#22270890)

Also, DVR permits you to watch the program while taping it, in a way that allows you to "pause" it and continue later. This ability is included in TiVO's patent. There's no way to do this with a VCR, so it doesn't count as previous art for it.


Sounds a lot like "instant replay," the ability to pause, rewind and fast forward a live broadcast. They've been doing in sports broadcasts since the 60s. Using fancy video tape decks -"VCRs" if you will.

I wonder too - as others have - what the implications are for having mythtv or some other free pvr.

Re:The VCR is a Multimedia time warping machine... (1)

Romancer (19668) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271062)

Instant replay was a VCR that was on site, not consumer controllable. Big difference in the device. YOU could not rewind and replay live tv and neither could they. On site, it was a camera signal to VCR. Not until it left the broadcast station was it TV. And after that you had no control other than to turn the channel.

Re:The VCR is a Multimedia time warping machine... (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271138)

Whether it's "consumer controllable" or not makes no difference - it still allowed "the user" to perform those actions, and it's still not an original idea. Aside from the older VCR tech already mentioned, digital audio workstations have been doing this exact same thing with audio (pause/playback of multiple media streams in real time while continuing to record, not to mention non-destructive editing) for the past 30 years. Applying the same ideas to video (which is just another type of media stream) is hardly a novel idea, and the only reason it wasn't done before was because it wasn't technologically feasible to do it cheaply enough until relatively recently. It's a bullshit patent that unfortunately was not seen as such by the courts.

Re:The VCR is a Multimedia time warping machine... (1)

multisync (218450) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271146)

It doesn't take a great leap to go from one to the other, especially now that we have these great general purpose machines at our disposal. I can do it now. The question is, will patents like this one make it illegal for me to do so using free software.

Re:The VCR is a Multimedia time warping machine... (3, Insightful)

TimothyJones (954047) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271342)

Instant replay was a VCR that was on site, not consumer controllable. Big difference

No difference. What does technology have to do with the market in which it exists other than catering to it.

Regardless. It's a bullshit patent. I've been doing that crap with VCR's years before TiVo albeit it was neither this pretty nor flexible. Digital format simply offers new advantages in terms of application, speed, and cost but to patent recording 2 programs at once or recording one and watching another? What kind of crap is that? It's not even an idea, it goddamn obvious.

Live TV has nothing to do with it, it is never live, it's a case of a AV feed source being digitally saved to a HDD, then opened and - in this case - played back. All a DVR does is access stored files from different processes. My computer does this all the time. It is doing it right now. What will they claim next, that they invented shared file access?

Time warp. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22271494)

When I were a kid, in the early 70's, I ent oa tv-exhibiton, when they made the first colour TV in Denmark.

I saw a machine for Instant TV replay, using a 15" magnetic platter drive, i.e. a hard disk.
that is clearly prior art to me.

That it is now available to customers is only a matter of price development, not a patentable issue.

Re:The VCR is a Multimedia time warping machine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22271202)

>There's no way to do this with a VCR

There sure is, it's just not as easy. Remember the old days when computer storage was on tape reels, and there was a huge storage bin for the tape so that the read reel could run at a fast rate without tearing the tape? Imagine the same thing with a VCR, only you would have a second head. One head would do the recording and dump into the storage bin, the other head would do playback.

I would not be surprised at all if someone who had worked at a TV station said they know of something like this. While I've never seen anything like it myself, it's no where near being impossible. Just more expensive.

ST:DVR (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22270732)

"Multimedia time warping"? What's this, Captain Picard's DVR?

Re:ST:DVR (1)

Pyrion (525584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271158)

No. Captain Archer's.

Re:ST:DVR (1)

narftrek (549077) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271754)

Porno movies, ENGAGE!

What choice do they have? (2, Interesting)

Port1080 (515567) | more than 6 years ago | (#22270734)

They'll have to shell out for licensing. If they lose the DVR option, they're going to lose half their customers. I'm with Dish now, but the minute the DVR is disabled I'll be calling up to cancel (God help them if they try to hold me to my contract, since they'll clearly be breaking it by not providing the service they promised) and calling up DirecTV to see what they have on special that week...

Re:What choice do they have? (1)

milsoRgen (1016505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22270752)

That's sad. I've always found Dish's UI to be vastly superior to DirecTV.

Re:What choice do they have? (1)

yodleboy (982200) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271776)

That's sad. I've always found Dish's UI to be vastly superior to DirecTV.

amen to that i have also found my dish dvr to be MUCH more user friendly and intuitive than boxes from directTV, comcast and time warner. it would take a big spike in Dish prices to make me switch at this point. i couldn't live with the crappy DVR's i've suffered with elsewhere.

Re:What choice do they have? (1)

SRA8 (859587) | more than 6 years ago | (#22270988)

"(God help them if they try to hold me to my contract, since they'll clearly be breaking it by not providing the service they promised)" Actually, not much will happen to them. Keep in mind, this is the company which calls me, and many other people I know, EVERY SINGLE EVENING. They get around the Federal Do Not Call lists by making the calls from India. They also insist that these callers arent employees, but rather random people who just decided to sell dish network service. Oh, btw, its also the company which telemarkets on mobile phones, which is *highly* illegal, since mobile phone calls cost money.

Re:What choice do they have? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271122)

I call in and report them. I even called the DHS tip line once when the number showed up as some weird 12 or 13 digit number. I don't get much of their calls anymore.

I also tell telemarketers firmly to take me off their lists and any lists they have me associated with. I was having some problems with some company calling with a computerized recording that you have to wait and press a number to get to a real person. When I told them to make sure I'm off any lists they might have, they claimed I called them. I promptly asked for their name and explained I was reporting them to the Ohio PUCO, the FCC and the FBI's fraud agency. So I did for everything but the FBI. They never called back. You need to take information about what time it was when you got the call, the number that showed up on the caller ID, if it was blocked, if you don't have caller ID and any names you could get and what company they claim to represent if possible. So yea, it sometimes requires you to sit through a speech to get this information. But the more thorough you get, the easier it is to show they called back after you told them not to.

In Ohio at least, this can lead to a $500 fine that you can apply to get once they pay it. Well, I never actually applied to get it and they might have changed the laws since I last checked on it, about a year ago. But if you ask them to take you off their list, they have to. The trick is, these are call centers so they have copies of your name on lists for everyone they are going to call you over. So you have to tell them to take you off any list they have you associated with in addition. This also stops them from selling you information to other marketing firms.

and something I found out the hard way, when you sign up for these free gifts at trade shows and stuff, they are usually sponsored by some telemarketer who now have a business association with you so the federal do not call list doesn't forbid them from calling. You can revoke this association by demanding to be taken off their lists too. It is best to not sign up for these things but sometimes legitimate people sell your contact information and you need to set the telemarketers straight. And yes, the India firms use a VoIP link to the states to avoid international surcharges. They are subject to our laws when they are doing business in the states for American companies, the local lines make it a presence just like with mail order.

You got to nip these people in the but and be firm but not disrespectful to them.

Re:What choice do they have? (1)

GizmoToy (450886) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271314)

The Do Not Call list exempts companies you've had a previous business relationship with. We get calls from Dish with fair regularity, probably a few times a month, but we're also Dish customers so there's not a whole lot you can do besides threaten to cancel unless they stop calling. You didn't mention if you are, or have been in the past, a Dish customer, but that may explain why you're getting the calls. Placing the calls from India does not get around the Do Not Call list. Dish is still an American corporation, no matter where the calls originate.

the jury (3, Insightful)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 6 years ago | (#22270740)

The jury awarded TiVo $73 911 964 in damages. No wonder there are patent-trolls roaming about, with this kind of money being tossed around.

Re:the jury (2, Funny)

Zymergy (803632) | more than 6 years ago | (#22270812)

And that's just for the Plaintiff's (alleged) damages... I wonder how much the jury was paid?

Q: What's better than 1,000 Lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?
A: 1,000 Patent-Troll Lawyers at the bottom of the ocean.

Re:the jury (2, Insightful)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 6 years ago | (#22270960)

Hanlon's Razor: "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."

I doubt jury misconduct; jury idiocy is more likely.

Re:the jury (5, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271224)

The jury awarded TiVo $73 911 964 in damages. No wonder there are patent-trolls roaming about, with this kind of money being tossed around.
On the other hand Tivo is hardly a patent troll with no business, they have a very real product that has probably lost a lot of money to competitiors infringing on the patent. Nor has it really been a secret that Tivo has been holding these patents in the DVR market. What is outragous are the companies that never have and never will make anything based on a patent, but simply wait around to sue someone out of nowhere. Dish is hardly noobs, they have lawyers and if they've failed to come up with prior art ot fail the obviousness criteria then perhaps Tivo actually has been innovative? I'm really not too concerned with patent cases where the patent holder has actually used the patent and made a product that someone else is trying to shamelessly copy. Right now it's a "sunk innovation", Tivo has made the innovation and now they're reaping the benefits, but that kind of money is also motivation for someone to find a different way of doing things. It's very tempting to have your cake (have someone invest to make an innovation) and eat it too (let everyone copy it so you don't pay a premium) but it doesn't quite add up.

Innovative theft (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22271500)

perhaps Tivo actually has been innovative?

Yes, Tivo's clever trick to sidestep the GPL was an innovation in dishonesty. Why do you think that kind of innovation should be rewarded?

Re:the jury (1)

Lost Engineer (459920) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271436)

Bad example. Tivo's not a patent troll. Ever wonder why they're suing Dish and not Cox, Comcast, and everyone else with a DVR? Because Dish was first, and Tivo started this process almost as soon as Dish came out with their DishPlayer software, competing with the Tivo/DirecTV partnership. Yes, litigation takes a LONG time.

Say what you will about their patents, but the company is not a troll in the normal sense of the word because a) they actually invented this technology and b) didn't wait till it was in wide use to sue.

Good thing I bailed! (1)

ff1324 (783953) | more than 6 years ago | (#22270748)

After DishNetwork's crippling of their 501/510 DVR receivers by forcing out botched firmwares, I grew tired of their excuses month after month. So I switched to DirecTV.

Better product, better service, better support. Echostar is starting to fade...quickly.

MPEG Streams Only? (5, Interesting)

JustinRLynn (831164) | more than 6 years ago | (#22270756)

The patent specifically mentions conversion to and manipulation of the incoming signal via an MPEG formatted stream. Does this mean that devices that use another format for manipulating the streams, say Ogg/Vorbis/Theora, would not be infringing?

Correct, unless the other format is MPEG compliant (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22270790)

Correct, unless the other format is MPEG compliant

Re:Correct, unless the other format is MPEG compli (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22270990)

Theora is MPEG compliant in the same way The Great Gatsby is a classic Japanese novel, so I guess we're OK.

Re:Correct, unless the other format is MPEG compli (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22271658)

I take it you've never seen Akira Kurosawa's Gatsby Gaijin?

TiVO's just mad cause their patent is defunct.... (5, Informative)

GuyverDH (232921) | more than 6 years ago | (#22270778)

Tivo's patent is for analog to digital conversion / time warping.

Dish's patent is for digital to digital (different digital formats) conversion / time warping.

Guess which broadcast standard is going away.... =)

Re:TiVO's just mad cause their patent is defunct.. (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271064)

Couldn't you just record the actual signal coming in the back of the box before the image and sound processing was done and get around both patents? They maybe creating a read ahead buffer of about 128 megs or so and you could use somewhat of a standard commercial length for a skip a read and rewind. Just keep the viewing in the middle of the buffer and add to either side depending on which direction it is going in.

You could drop the tuner support for the different heads down to just the parts that segregate the signals then feed it all through one of two regular tuners during playback and probably have the ability to record 5 or 10 channels at once for the same costs. Of course I'm not sure how this would be technically different then devices used by ham radio operators with their repeaters. Some have record abilities but I don't know if they can pause/fast forward and so on.

What does this mean for open source software? (0, Redundant)

seeker_1us (1203072) | more than 6 years ago | (#22270810)

While this is all well and good for Tivo, what does it mean for MythTV?

Oh No! My Hauppauge! (1)

Fat Wang (1230914) | more than 6 years ago | (#22270820)

What will this mean for other "timewarping" devices such as my Hauppauge PVR card? The technology in the card is different, and my computer's software is doing the timeshifting, but if Dish loses this case would it be too far fetched for Hauppauge, ATI, or MSI to get gunned down by Tivo?

GPL3 workaround (4, Interesting)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#22270956)

I'm surprised that no one is commenting on the GPLv3 and the effect this has on Tivo using GPLed products.

I can see several situations develop. First, Tivo uses GPLed code (GPLv3) with their time shifting software and is forced to not apply the patent to derived code. Second and probably more likely, they don't use GPLed code (or GPLv3 code) for the recording and time shifting and use the patent to stop hackers from messing around and getting the Tivo functions working with non Tivo firmware or signed kernels.

Or 3, they don't use GPLv3 code all together and nothing has changed. But it is definitely interesting to think about.

GPLv2 violation already (3, Insightful)

ArcRiley (737114) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271302)

GNU GPL version 2, section 7:

7. If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of patent infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues), conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not distribute the Program at all. For example, if a patent license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the Program.
TiVO already uses GPLv2 code. Since they are enforcing their own patents on the use of said software they are in violation of the GPL when distributing the software running those DVRs. When they or any retailer sell a box or send a software update they are, thus, committing copyright violation.

This means that while they can nail Dish network for patent violation, they themselves have committed a copyright violation and opened themselves up to lawsuits from thousands of developers.

Re:GPLv2 violation already (2, Insightful)

despisethesun (880261) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271370)

I think you're reading too much into that. From what I read into it, it sounds like it covers scenarios like this:
You're using GPL-ed code in some piece of tech or software that you are distributing. Your software is now also GPL-ed, but let's say it's violating a patent held by Company X. Company X sues you, but you settle out of court and get a patent license. However, that patent license isn't transferable to the people who receive your software, and now the people who receive your software cannot redistribute it themselves according to the GPL. You are now in violation of the GPL and must cease distributing that sofware.

"You" in this example would be Dish, and "Company X" would be Tivo. If Dish were using Tivo's GPL-ed software in their product and that software were the cause of the patent litigation, Tivo would be in violation of section 7 because requiring someone to buy a patent license from them would not permit royalty-free distribution. But if Dish is using some other code (GPL-ed or otherwise), then Tivo would not be in contravention of section 7. Nothing would be preventing Tivo or the people who receive software from them from distributing that software freely. GPLv3 closes this loophole.

Also, I don't think Tivo uses much GPL code aside from the Linux distro that apparently powers the box. That doesn't necessarily mean that all of the software on a Tivo box must be licensed under the GPL, just as not all the software that comes with a Linux distro for your PC must be GPL-ed.

Re:GPLv2 violation already (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271426)

TiVO already uses GPLv2 code. Since they are enforcing their own patents on the use of said software they are in violation of the GPL when distributing the software running those DVRs. When they or any retailer sell a box or send a software update they are, thus, committing copyright violation.
Well, that would be true if the software that the patent covers is covered by the GPLv2 also. The GPLv3 provides some spidering effects with a little more clarity in where a program not licensed under the GPLv3 could be considered derived in more ways that the GPLv2 implies.

However, if you read that section again, You will notice some wiggle room that they could attempt to exploit. The success might depend largely on the skills of the attorneys involved. And to note, they wouldn't be in copyright violation until someone declared them defunct in their obligations and revoked their permission. The GPL doesn't automatically revoke the license when something happens or fails to happen. I think the GPLv3 addresses that more clearly. But one of the copyright holders has to point it out, follow the steps outlined in the GPL and then revoke their rights. Flagrant attempts might be looked at by a judge in a different light but there is no guarantee that someone who has been in violation of the GPL but not informed of it is automatically committing copyright violations/infringement or that a judge would see it that way when dealing out punishment. This could get real dicey in a situation where someone is no longer alive and is the sole author of the GPLed code in question.

This means that while they can nail Dish network for patent violation, they themselves have committed a copyright violation and opened themselves up to lawsuits from thousands of developers.
No, not really. It doesn't seem to work this way. Tivo could stop distributing GPLed software and then exert their patent. The patent could be over software Tivo owns and never released as GPL, and as long as they don't include other people work in it if it was GPLed, they would be the ones having to go after themselves. the community can't unless someone has a copyright interests in it.

But I'm not really sure why they would have to worry, Tivo's patent has been around for a while and while there has been objections from the community, they have essentially gotten away with using the patent to threaten others for while now and no one has went after them or pulled their license.

Now the interesting thing here is, and this is where the wiggle room could come into play, They could effectively use their patent against any non-GPLed software that infringes on their patent. The GPL is only concerned with GPLed software which is what I think makes this interesting. Section 7 that you pointed out doesn't say anything about non-GPLed software, it is only concerned with software covered by the GPL as is the rest of the GPL. So for Tivo, the best that can happen is people either imitate them or pay them royalties. And if they imitate Tivo well enough, they have to give Tivo the ability to do the same because of the GPL. SO if things work out for them, you will have people paying them to be better. Now if only there was a compulsory licensing system in the US where Tivo could be forced to license their patent.

Re:GPLv2 violation already (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271612)

conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not excuse you from the conditions of this License.

Since they are enforcing their own patents on the use of said software they are in violation of the GPL


How do you figure that? By your own words, you have said that it is their own patent - that means they get to choose the licence terms of their patented technology. If they choose licence terms that are compatible with their GPL responsibilities then there is no contradiction and they are in the clear.

I am aware of no terms of their patent that are incompatible with their GPL responsibilities. Note that this strictly talks about their responsibilities, not the responsibilities of a third party who wants to distribute the GPL code.

This is the fundamental difference between GPL2 and GPL3 - under GPL2 you can distribute code under the GPL which is patented. This means that you can happilly distribute the code in compliance with both the GPL and the patent (since it is your patent) but other people would not be able to do so since they don't have a patent licence (even though the GPL allows them to distribute the code). GPL3, on the other hand, specifically requires that you grant a patent licence to anyone who has the source code, so it removes this loophole.

they themselves have committed a copyright violation and opened themselves up to lawsuits from thousands of developers.

And yet these lawsuits haven't happened...

Re:GPL3 workaround (1)

jack455 (748443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271356)

Tivo received the GPL'ed code under GPLv2. It's doubtful they'll be able to use any of the updated GPLv3 software, but I guess they'll be able to get by without updated code from projects that go v3 only.

What is this... (1)

ichbineinneuben (1065378) | more than 6 years ago | (#22270972)

...tee vee thing I hear about (muttered as I browse back to youtube)

Naive question... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22270974)

Why do we have a patent system?

No, seriously -- TiVo got plenty of money for being first to market, and for licensing their actual product (hardware and software) to others.

What does the consumer gain at this point by having competition killed? Would TiVo really not have bothered to invent the DVR without protection from this competition?

Re:Naive question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22271014)

For the same reason we have a copyright system. To allow a very few to extract above-market profits for an unreasonable amount of time at the vast expense of the many. Thank your Congressman for that, it wasn't always this way.

Re:Naive question... (4, Insightful)

FlyingGuy (989135) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271320)

For the same reason we have a copyright system. To allow a very few to extract above-market profits for an unreasonable amount of time at the vast expense of the many. Thank your Congressman for that, it wasn't always this way.

Yes that is the same tired response from someone who has never done the hard work, invested every penny they had and borrowed money from their family to bring a product to market, just to see it jumped on by 18 knock off shops and never see a penny for all their hard work. Yes there are things broken in both Patent and Copyright law, I certainly agree with that. But to hear someone like you blather on about the evils of patent and copyright just sickens me.

I know someone who put himself through school to get a phd in optical design and spent every waking moment writing a better piece of optical design software. His software did 95% of what the major players in the optical design market did for 10% of the price. He published version 1.0 and before he knew it there were pirate copies showing up all over the place. Version 1.01 came along with a DONGOL to protect his Intellectual Property. The software is well into version 10, years later and it still comes with a DONGOL.

Here is your clue... Beer is not free, Freedom is not free, Food is not free, School is not free, Electricity is not free... Get it, NOTHING is free. Take down all the structures we have, no technology, no internal combustion engines, no silicon wafers, no steel mills, nothing, and life is not free. You have to work hard every damn day to survive. The people who invent deserve the fruits of their labor, the people who create great works of art deserver the fruits of their labor, the people who create great software deserve the fruits of their labor.

So stop whining and complaining and go invent, go create, go design, go and WORK because you to deserve the fruits of your labor.

Re:Naive question... (2, Insightful)

divide overflow (599608) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271524)

The individuals who do the actual inventing rarely make much money. It is the people who market the inventions and get ownership of the intellectual property rights who typically end up with most of the money. Any lawyer can confirm this. Sad but true. The few inventors with the savvy and resources to fight off the charlatans and their lawyers and reap the fruits of their labors are a rare breed, and are becoming ever ever rarer with each passing day.

Re:Naive question... (1, Insightful)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271650)

I know someone who put himself through school to get a phd in optical design and spent every waking moment writing a better piece of optical design software. His software did 95% of what the major players in the optical design market did for 10% of the price. He published version 1.0 and before he knew it there were pirate copies showing up all over the place. Version 1.01 came along with a DONGOL to protect his Intellectual Property. The software is well into version 10, years later and it still comes with a DONGOL.
So, he set out to make money by undercutting the "major players", and then got upset when he got undercut by someone else in turn? Forgive me if I don't see the big deal.

(BTW, you misspelled "dongle".)

Here is your clue... Beer is not free, Freedom is not free, Food is not free, School is not free, Electricity is not free... Get it, NOTHING is free. Take down all the structures we have, no technology, no internal combustion engines, no silicon wafers, no steel mills, nothing, and life is not free. You have to work hard every damn day to survive.
Not if you have patents and copyrights, you don't! You can work hard for a little bit up front, then sit back and keep squeezing money out of the work you've already done.

Seriously, what you're saying is pretty much what I've said in every copyright thread, but somehow your conclusion is 180 degrees off. If you want people to keep working, then abolish patents and copyrights: make them work for their income instead of charging rent on work they did in years past.

The people who invent deserve the fruits of their labor, the people who create great works of art deserver the fruits of their labor, the people who create great software deserve the fruits of their labor.
Of course they do, but some of them seem to want more than that. They want the fruits of everyone else's labor too, just because those others used some of the same ideas.

So stop whining and complaining and go invent, go create, go design, go and WORK because you to deserve the fruits of your labor.
Don't tell that to us, tell it to the people who want to milk their copyrights and patents instead of working!

Re:Naive question... (4, Insightful)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271034)

Are you kidding? Tivo is pretty much screwed at this point because most people are content (happy is too strong a word - have you SEEN an Explorer 8300!?) with the crappy DVRs their cable/satellite providers now give them.

They NEVER "got plenty of money" - I don't believe they have had more than a couple profitable quarters in 10 years (and those were probably due to lawsuits!)

Their only hope of survival at this point is to protect their patents (that probably still have a good 7-8 years left). Patents that seem to be violated by most of the other DVRs. They are just going after Dish because DirecTV still has Tivo DVRs in service, they made a deal with Comcast (which uses Motorola), and Time Warner uses Scientific Atlanta which is a stretch to call it a DVR ("piece of crap" is a better term).

The idea is not that no one else can make DVRs - it's that Tivo gets more money from Echostar. They only have to stop selling DVRs if they are not willing to come to an agreement. Though Echostar is the kind of company that is happy to screw over it's customers and blame someone else just to be cheap.

Re:Naive question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22271072)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-mover_advantage#Second-mover_advantage [wikipedia.org]

There has been a lot of doubt over whether or not Tivo will be able to survive in the long term against the onslaught of generic DVRs provided by cable and satellite companies. The knock offs took less time and money to develop and had little risk since they already knew it was a product that people were interested in. It doesn't seem right to me to allow a situation where a company that creates something original is at a disadvantage to imitators so I think some legal protection is justifiable. Exactly how much protection there should be is up for debate though.

Re:Naive question... (2, Insightful)

Samari711 (521187) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271082)

This case is actually a textbook example of why patents exist. TiVo came up with a novel, innovative product and basically created the market for DVRs. Dish copies the idea, having to invest much less into R&D because they can just do what TiVo does, bundles it with their service so they can cut TiVo out of the market. TiVo is different from a patent troll because TiVo was actively developing and selling products based on the technology and were actually harmed by Dish's violation of their rights.

Re:Naive question... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22271210)

Bullshit. TiVO came up with a deadly obvious invention and managed to patent it first.

I had the concept behind TiVO years ago when digital video first started becoming available. It's an obvious idea that anyone who's worked with UNIX pipes could have thought of. TiVO is just more for video.

What stopped people from doing it before TiVO is the same thing that made TiVO ridiculously expensive at first: technology. Hard drives simply weren't big enough to make recording TV to disk a reasonable home application.

When that changed, we got TiVO. Now that technology has improved even further, we've got HD DVRs that can record up to something ridiculous like 50 hours of HD programming.

But the concept is simple. The idea was never novel, it's just assembling a bunch of off-the-shelf parts together. It's why TiVO is dieing - they may have been first to market, but they entered the market before technology had really caught up far enough to make DVRs cheaply.

Re:Naive question... (0)

adolf (21054) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271546)

TiVO came up with a deadly obvious invention and managed to design, prototype, manufacture, market, and rightly patent it first.

There. Fixed that for you.

I had the concept behind TiVO years ago when digital video first started becoming available. It's an obvious idea that anyone who's worked with UNIX pipes could have thought of. TiVO is just more for video.

Good for you. Sue their fucking socks off and let us know how it works out. (Unfortunately, since you neither produced nor patented anything, your concept is worth squat, so I'm not sure how you might be able to claim any damages.)

Re:Naive question... (3, Informative)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271240)

TiVo is different from a patent troll

Not really. When I looked this up a while back, as far as I could tell TiVo had several relatively narrow patents on DVR technology that they invented. (The most prominent of these had to do with tricks to get enough performance out of 1990s era hard drive to simultaneously record and view video. That's no longer an issue.) Probably most of their patents can be worked around.

A few years ago, however, TiVo bought the rights from a 3rd party to an older and incredibly broad patent that covers absolutely any DVR implementation, or indeed any simultaneous reading and writing of any digital video stream. (From the claims it looked like the commands mencoder /dev/video -o foo.mpg &; mplayer foo.mpg would inringe.) That kind of makes them a patent troll, since that dubious "invention" (which in a sane world would have been rejected as obvious by the patent office) predates TiVo altogether. The good news is that this particular patent is expiring really soon now.

Re:Naive question... (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271482)

TiVos problem is that in spite of being first to market, the competition is eating into their business. So instead of being good 'free market' proponents and just making something better, cheaper, etc., they turn to the capitalist model and adopt monopoly tactics (patents) to prevent competition.

Remember, good capitalists are not free market proponents. They are much happier with monopoly positions.

heh (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 6 years ago | (#22270982)

Well I know if I was a Dish Network customer, I'd be real super pleased with Tivo if they got my DVR shut down.  I'd be fucking screaming to become one of their customers as fast as possible.

not.

How is this not obvious? (1)

Doc Daneeka (1107345) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271022)

Seriously, how is this patent not obvious? Replace VCR/DVD media with a HDD, slap in a CPU and RAM, and all that is left is to write the code. Is giving the user the ability to multiplex their base bandwidth that novel? Amazing thing to allow people to control their bandwidth.

This is why I stopped paying for TV service (1)

lohphat (521572) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271044)

I no longer participate in this nonsense -- pulled the pay TV plug 3 year ago, haven't looked back. I just watch DVDs or subscribe via iTunes. Given the quality of broadcast/pay TV, I'm not missing out on much I can't consume later.

Re:This is why I stopped paying for TV service (1)

vistic (556838) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271410)

I no longer participate in this nonsense -- pulled the pay TV plug 3 year ago, haven't looked back.

Yeah ! Stick it to the corporations and their greed-fueled idiocy trying to control what you can and can't do !

I just watch DVDs or subscribe via iTunes.

Oops, spoke too soon.

The Purpose of Patents (4, Insightful)

localman (111171) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271068)

I'm curious to see if I get flamed for this, but I'm going to say that on some philosophical level, Tivo should win this.

I've been very critical of patents in the past, and in general I think they are overused by trolls and big corps to squash competition on obvious ideas. But most people admit that somewhere underneath all that crap is the ideal of a little guy being able to spend a bunch of time and money to invent and bring something to market without having someone else immediately copy them and usurp the benefits of all their hard work. There's a valid, society benefitting reason for patents, it's just that they're almost never used in that way these days any more.

I think Tivo is an example of what patents should protect. My understanding is that Tivo was a pretty clever idea, and they spent a lot of time and money creating something very cool and unique. I never owned one myself, but friends did, and it seemed to me that if anything was patentable it would be Tivo. I was later a bit weirded out when all these competing DVRs appeared. In fact I took it to mean that the patent system was broken in both directions: it encouraged patent trolling over obvious ideas and it failed to protect inventors.

Now I hear that they may be getting patent protection after all, and for the first time since Dyson protected himself against the vacuum manufacturers that refused to license his work, I'm seeing patents do what they were meant to do: encourage actual invention.

If you think Tivo was not worthy of a patent, then I don't know what to tell you. It's not just a VCR, and if it were people would be including VCRs in cable boxes. They came up with something cool that nobody else was doing, and if I understand the market at the time, something nobody else wanted to do. And before they could turn a profit they were slammed by knockoffs from several sides.

Anyways: I just want to call out that while I generally gag at the patent cases I see, this is not one of them. I think Tivo brought something unique to market and they should have a (truly) limited time to exclusively benefit from it.

Cheers.

Re:The Purpose of Patents (1)

bakawally (637407) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271268)

Here's the thing though. TivoHD doesn't work on satellite. Why? Not because of any satellite lockout. It's because Tivo is in bed with the cable companies. So, if this went through to the hypothetical extreme and you couldn't use the satellite DVR/timeshift service that the sat company provides, you would be shit out of luck. If Tivo is going to sue people for stealing sales or patent infringement, they better at least be in the same damn market and providing some kind of serivce. As of right now, they are out of the satellite game all together.

Re:The Purpose of Patents (1)

Lost Engineer (459920) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271444)

Tivo doesn't work with satellite because none of the satellite companies wanted to pay them, hence the lawsuit. DirectTV used to have a relationship with them, and maybe they will again.

Actually I wouldn't say they're in bed with the cable companies either. The only way new Tivos work with cable is the cable card, which the FCC mandated. Plenty of cable cos still have DVRs running their generic crapware.

Re:The Purpose of Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22271288)

Oh yeah, you're going to get flamed for it.

My understanding is that Tivo was a pretty clever idea
That's the core of your argument, and it's wrong. TiVO wasn't a clever idea - it was an old idea that could finally be implemented. Literally the only thing that was new with TiVO was that hard drive tech got good enough and cheap enough to make it possible as a set-top box. That's it.

Anyone who ever had a VCR could see how neat a concept a DVR would be. What was holding back VCRs from becoming like TiVO was the storage medium - you can't effectively read from and write to two different locations on a video cassette at the same time. (It's possible, of course, just not practical.)

Hard drives solve that problem - except that at about 1GB/hour of record time (rough guess for NTSC), hard drives simply weren't large enough to make a DVR practical.

Until they were, and TiVO swept in and created the device.

Everything existed to make TiVO possible prior to hard drive technology advancing to the point that it became cheap enough and practical enough to do.

The advances in hard drive tech were probably worth (and we can be certain received) a patent.

TiVO was just building for the first time something that people had already envisioned for years. DVRs were possible well before TiVO entered the scene. They just weren't practical.

TiVO did nothing to make DVRs practical. Hard drive manufacturers did.

Re:The Purpose of Patents (1)

Lost Engineer (459920) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271454)

Mostly software patents are just bogus. Nothing about taking an idea and implementing it in software is worthy of a patent. The only things I think are really novel are new algorithms. You could make an argument for patenting those. Simply arranging algorithms XYZ in a software package is great business (most certainly copyrightable) but not worthy of a patent.

Re:The Purpose of Patents (1, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271292)

The problem is this. Patents were never about protecting an idea, or a concept. They were about protecting a particular implementation. Originally, I believe, a patent required a working model or detailed schematic before it would be accepted. It was only that particular design that was protected. If someone else did the same thing using a different method, then your patent didn't affect them.

The problem with Tivo's patent is that it isn't particularly novel, and it's very broad. Yes, the idea of a DVR was probably novel at the time. But if you took an engineer, and asked them "how would you implement a DVR" (and described a DVR too them), it isn't a particularly difficult problem to solve. If that engineer could come up with the design Tivo uses, then the Tivo patent is obvious to a "person having ordinary skill in the art".

The idea behind a patent is to get ideas out in the open. It's a trade with the public - the inventor offers his schematics, and the public gives him a time-limited monopoly. If someone invents something - say a new stronger, lighter alloy - that nobody else knows how to make, then it's not in the public's interest to let the knowledge of how to make it die with him. So they say "we'll guarantee you nobody else will make your alloy, if you give us the process by which you make it". Now, if it's something that any metallurgist worth his salt could whip up in a month or two, then the public would be getting gyped on the deal.

The problem with patents now is that they seem to be more along the lines of "I thought of it first, therefore it's mine", whereas they should be "I built it first, therefore this design is mine". Personally, I think the way to fix patents is to make them more like copyright - patents protect from reverse engineering, but clean-room implementations should be safe.

Re:The Purpose of Patents (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271670)

The idea behind a patent is to get ideas out in the open. It's a trade with the public - the inventor offers his schematics, and the public gives him a time-limited monopoly. If someone invents something - say a new stronger, lighter alloy - that nobody else knows how to make, then it's not in the public's interest to let the knowledge of how to make it die with him. So they say "we'll guarantee you nobody else will make your alloy, if you give us the process by which you make it". Now, if it's something that any metallurgist worth his salt could whip up in a month or two, then the public would be getting gyped on the deal.

The trick is that patents (no longer) do this well. Possibly because of newer trade secrets laws.

Businesses generally only patent stuff which could be (relatively easily) discovered by reverse engineering the product - all the stuff that would be practically impossible for people outside the organisation to discover is kept as a trade secret instead. The the patents are no longer trying to get ideas out into the open - instead they are protecting ideas that would be out in the open anyway. The ideas that need to be brought out into the open are being kept as trade secrets.

Whilst I support the ideals of the patent system, I do think it has some major flaws. The biggest of those is the fact that it does not (and probably can't ever) recognise how someone came up with a design. For example, if you produce a product and then I just rip off the design then I should be paying you a licence because you did all the hard R&D word and I just ripped it off. On the other hand, if you produce a product and then I produce a similar product completely independently with no knowledge of yours I have received no benefit from your R&D and so why the hell should I pay you a licence fee?

This becomes more of an issue when small internal components of a product are patented and so there is no reasonable expectation that anyone else would know about the technology you patented. E.g. if you produce a product and patent parts of an ASIC you are using deep within the internals, and then I produce a completely different product which happens to need similar ASIC functionality there is no reasonable way I would know that I could licence a design from you - I would do the R&D myself and then some time after it hits the market I might get sued by you for infringing a patent I never knew existed.

Personally, I can't think of a way to build a replacement for the patent system which would do what the patent system is *intended* to do. However, the current patent system certainly isn't working.

Re:The Purpose of Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22271738)

Your premise is alright, but lacks logic. Often, execution of the technology is easy, but the idea is the hard part. We have to reward this otherwise the idea may never come to light.

Take ANY of the technologies in current use in computers. I can't think of 1 where given 6 months any postgrad level cosc student couldnt have a working prototype. Same goes for electronics.

Where is the incentive to "invent" if you can never get a payback? All you are rewarding are the LARGE ORGANISATIONS by removing patents, as when there is a disruptive technology you simply cannot compete with them, JUST LIKE TIVO.

Re:The Purpose of Patents (1)

TakeyMcTaker (963277) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271310)

I understand the idealist point of patent protection, but you don't seem to understand that the patent system was NEVER actually used that way. Bell didn't really invent the telephone -- he had some ideas that got him part way there, and then used his patent examiner (via bribery) to steal someone else's invention, to complete the job. He got ALL the power and money, through cunning use of power and money, while the powerless REAL inventor got nothing. Pardon me for not remembering the name of the real inventor for a moment -- Bell's is etched into my brain, primarily through the monopoly he created, that was later broken up, and now is mysteriously reforming... Reminds me of Terminator 2... Meanwhile, Marconi, who was really the first telephone inventor, didn't even come close to getting any credit, because he wasn't "connected" to the patent system. And these three men show another flaw in the patent system: something useful, however novel, tends to have more than one inventor. People who never knew each other tend to stumble on the same discoveries, at around the same time. Revealing their discoveries to the world immediately is most often in their best interest, and all the "advantages" of the patent system tend to get exploited at the real inventor's detriment. There is no real "incentive" there for the real inventors. Most often, the only patent beneficiary is the already-rich investor, or corporation, that "employs" the inventor. The most credit goes to the scoundrel ready to TAKE credit, usually where none is due.
        The patent system originally had high, Benjamin Franklin inspired ideals. What it really became is another clique, a place for elites to play, and a tool to victimize anyone not as well connected as themselves. Just ask any of Edison's employees. Oops, you can't -- they're dead, and you don't know their names anyway, because they never really got credit for their own inventions -- Edison took it ALL.
        In this case, analog-digital TV signal conversion pre-dated Tivo by a long shot. Streaming audio/video to and from hard drives were already well established technologies. Tivo just managed to get in when the hardware was cheap, and put together some software that made the output and menus look prettier than those damn boxy Windows video players. Why isn't Tivo suing the hell out of Microsoft for Media Center? Because they would lose. A Tivo is just a computer with a video capture card, decent hard drive(s), and TV output, in a box that looks more like a DVD player than a PC. There's nothing unique, or patent worthy, about it. Look and branding are copyright and trademark items -- none of it has any place in the patent system.
        Several other countries, including the EU, don't allow software patents for very good reasons -- the possibilities for all software are already written in the collection of transistors they operate on. Software bits are like letters in a book -- it's writing, not "invention". If it were truly novel, it could not be parsed by existing brains or "processors". All writing, including software, is the realm of copyright, exclusively. Now copyright reform is a different subject worth discussing...

not clever (1, Insightful)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271384)

I think Tivo is an example of what patents should protect. My understanding is that Tivo was a pretty clever idea, and they spent a lot of time and money creating something very cool and unique.

Many people had this idea before TiVo; it's a pretty obvious idea for people working with digital video, and there were many of those around when TiVo was founded.

I think Tivo brought something unique to market and they should have a (truly) limited time to exclusively benefit from it.

Issues of creativity aside, the purpose of patents is to promote progress. How did this patent promote progress? TiVo became big and successful before their patent had any effect. And DVRs would have been done anyway, with or without TiVo, as soon as the hardware price was about right.

This patent should have struck down because (1) it's just a digital implementation of an existing, analog process, and (2) the technique is obvious to someone of ordinary skill working on digital video.

Re:The Purpose of Patents (1)

lwiniarski (105158) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271450)

I worked as a consultant for a major consumer electronics around 2000 and was asked to design a DVR (on paper).
for opencable I did so and described how I would do it. At the time I never had access to any other DVR.
and had only remotely heard of tivo. I still have documentation on this.

Now I have dishnetwork, and surprisingly the interface is almost identical to my design, except
I added a version of Video on Demand using multicast which no one has done yet..(too my knowledge)

So since I independently came up with virtually the same design, I really think it was pretty obviousI
and that anyone working with freezing incoming data such as digital oscilloscopes and logic analyzers have dealt
with for many years. "Pause" wasn't invented by Tivo. Actually I still have DOS programs that I wrote in the 80's
with graphical displays showing the last 10 minutes of sensor data that a person can scroll through while
new data was still coming in. It's basically the same thing anyone would implement for circular buffers.

I really think it was fairly obvious and anyone saving _and_ viewing at the same time would
implement. What kept people from doing it before wasn't that they hadn't thought of it, but
was just that it was too expensive and common hard drives weren't fast enough in the
early 90's. Almost as soon as it was technically feasible for commodity stuff it was done.

Tivo seems to have popularized it, but it would have been pretty obvious
to anyone how to do it. I consider it more of a marketing breakthrough rather than a
technical one.

I really can't imagine that some sort of prior art didn't exist for people doing digital
video. I'm sure it would be just a matter of getting some older video engineers in a room.
and talking about it. But then maybe it's just the guys that did it...founded TIVO.

higher prices ahead (1)

robo_mojo (997193) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271076)

Dish won't disable DVR, they'll just start charging more for it to get TiVO their cut.

What a stupid patent (1)

magical liopleurodon (1213826) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271182)

Time-warping? Isn't that like the definition of a DVR? 'Cause I think prior art already exists with ReplayTV....

Any PC Video capture card (2, Informative)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271230)

I'm pretty sure that video capture cards on the PC predated the Tivo. I see that AIW [wikipedia.org] was first introduced on 11/11/96. The Tivo patent is dated 6/30/98. I'm pretty sure that devices that did what the patent claims were down right common by 98. The only thing that Tivo did that was cool was put it in a nice stereo looking case, and had a nice UI.

I know that the AIW pro that is sitting here next to me did everything described by the patent. And it predates the Tivo patent. I don't see how Dish successfully lost this case.

Re:Any PC Video capture card (1)

phoebusQ (539940) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271364)

Tivo-like devices were by no means common in 1998.

Moreover, you seem to be under the mistaken impression, as are many on Slashdot, that any kind of "prior art" invalidates a patent, no matter how precursory or tangential. While a video capture card could certainly be combined with special software to perform "dvr"-like actions prior to the Tivo patent, the Tivo folks were the ones to define their process, productize it, and make it available. If there's any legitimate application of patents, it's a case like Tivo.

Re:Any PC Video capture card (1)

Froobly (206960) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271440)

I had an AIW in 2000, and it didn't do anything near what Tivo did. Yes, it had video recording features, and it was conceivably possible to use as a VCR, but it wasn't very practical. It didn't encode the video to MPEG2, so the size of the videos it recorded was on the order of gigabytes per minute. Given that hard drives at the time didn't have all that much capacity, it was a pretty useless feature.

Note also that the version I had came two years after Tivo launched, and I'm sure many of the Tivo-like features, such as pausing live TV, were added later, in an attempt to be like Tivo.

Dish and Tivo (1)

Pathway (2111) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271272)

Having just upgraded my Dish to a brand new ViP722 receiver... talk about your bad timing... This kinda sucks.

That being said, bravo Tivo. This is clearly in Tivo's court, as they did create the technology. They should be paid for what they own.

Now, here's hoping that Tivo and Dish reach an agreement without interrupting my service or raising my bill... how likely is that? It's not very likely...

Here's an idea - Dish should give Tivo free press: "Dish PVR, based on Tivo Technology!" and drop the "It's Better than Tivo!*" Advertisement they currently have running. Maybe that will lessen those fees owed.

--Pathway

(* As said by some guy on CNet)

i like this, even if I hate patents (1)

Adult film producer (866485) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271312)

because it's nice to see big corporations with their patents eating one another... one gigantic corporate machine vs another using absolutely stupid patent justifications for suing another. It's like watching Rush Limbaugh chew into mccain while the main stream media adores and sings his praises.. Let these fuckers weaken themselves. Frankly, I hope both parties in this case suffer catastrophe, total meltdown of their bottom line. I don't give a flying fuck if tivo lives or dies, but if they're alive let them suck the blood from another corporate entity while they have the chance.

Time Warping (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 6 years ago | (#22271374)

has been in use by TV stations for decades so it's nothing new here.

But of course if the court thinks it's new then it's new? Right?

DVD-RAM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22271420)

DVD-RAM introduced 1996 had 'time shifted playback while recording' capability.
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