Decisions in TiVo's Patent Infringement and Administrative Employment Cases

By FindLaw Staff on March 04, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In TiVo Inc. v. EchoStar Corp., No. 09-1374, the Federal Circuit faced a challenge to the district court's decision finding EchoStar in contempt of its permanent injunction order relating to TiVo's patent infringement action of its digital video recorder (DVR).

TiVo's patent infringement action against EchoStar began in 2004 when the jury found that EchoStar's accused receivers, the "50X" series and the "Broadcom" series infringed the asserted hardware and software claims and awarded TiVo $74 million in lost profits and reasonable royalties.  As a result of the jury's finding of infringement, the district court issued a permanent injunction ordering EchoStar to stop making, using, offering to sell, and selling receivers that had been found infringing by the jury.  The district court also ordered the defendant to disable the DVR functionality in existing receivers.

In affirming the district court's decision, the court held that, based on clear and convincing evidence before the district court that both types of defendant's receivers continue to infringe, it was not an abuse of discretion for the court to hold EchoStar in contempt of the infringement provision.  The court also held that the district court had sufficient justification in determining that court pre-approval of any new design-around effort was necessary to prevent future infringing activity based on EchoStar's refusal to comply with the order to disable DVR functionality in its existing receivers. 

In Roche v. Merit Sys. Prot. Bd., No. 09-3111, the court decided the issue of whether the Merit Systems Protection Board properly declined to review petitioner's case (appealing his termination from his position as an Air Traffic Control Specialist) for lack of jurisdiction. 

In affirming the Board's dismissal of the petition for lack of jurisdiction, the court held that petitioner does not qualify as an employee under 5 U.S.C. section 7511, as he has only worked for the FAA a little 1.55 year, and section 7511 requires that a person has to complete 2 years of current continuous service in the same of similar position to qualify as Title 5 employees.

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