TiVo has achieved one of the most famous patent-infringement victories of the past decade, slamming its competitor Dish Network (EchoStar) with a jury verdict that ultimately added up to $105 million—and winning a second nine-digit ruling against Dish this month when an East Texas judge found the satellite-TV provider to be in contempt of court and ordered it to pay $103 million for continuing to infringe TiVo's patent.
Now BusinessWeek has an interesting story on the rest of TiVo's business—that is, winning over subscribers who want to use TiVo services. The company's Irell & Manella legal team can't help with that battle, and it isn't going well—at all. If it hadn't been for its courtroom victory, TiVo would have barely been profitable last year. Its subscriber base is down almost 40% since 2006. Now TiVo's CEO says the company wants to be the "Google of Television," but it's a crowded field.
The article notes that one of TiVo's competitive advantages is its 140-patent portfolio. But the TiVo story may shape up to be a powerful reminder that success in court doesn't equate to success in the marketplace. A final question is whether additional patent enforcement actions will become more attractive to TiVo if its new business plans don't go well.
Photo: flickr / M0les