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October 6, 2008

Deep Dish

Patent infringers often seem patent illiterate, unable to read the writing on the wall - led by stubborn CEOs, unwilling to take a license, fighting until the last dog bone is buried.

It's a litigation crapshoot, old hands say. A gross overstatement, because the sport of kings is rigged.

Consider Jim Basillie at RIM (v. NTP), who fought in every forum, until he popped his britches and $612.5 million spilled out of his wallet, when RIM could have had a license for a very few tens of millions without the fuss.

Another case in point: after the U.S. Supreme Court snubbed Dish Network's plea today, Dish faces $104 million in damages, plus interest, plus whatever else TiVo can dish out. And there is more to dish to Dish. But Dish vows to fight on.

A jury found Dish to have willfully infringed. The judge slapped on a permanent injunction. Appeal to the CAFC didn't help. Begging for an en banc rehearing got all the response of one hand clapping. Reexamination just bullet-proofed the patent. Then SCOTUS gave Dish the brush-off.

Dish has been trying to get off the hook for further damage by a workaround fix. But TiVo claims that Dish flubbed it, and is asking the Texas court overseeing enforcement to declare Dish in contempt of allegedly violating the injunction. A ruling has yet to be issued, but Dish's best serving is, as has been clear for some time, settlement.

Previously in the Patent Prospector: April 14, 2008, and backwards from there.

Posted by Patent Hawk at October 6, 2008 9:51 PM | Patents In Business