Tivo has set off quite a debate on Slashdot with the news that it is suing EchoStar for patent infringement.
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.
The article linked is very light on the details of the infringement and the key question is if TiVo is trying to club others with a fairly obvious patent on the idea of timeshifting or if the infringement is in the actual implementation used by EchoStar. If you read the patents in question, they are focused on a specific implementation of solving this timeshifting problem so as long as you solve the problem differently from TiVo you’d be ok.
Its a pity that a lot of the comments modded up above 3 are mostly ill-informed flames about the inadequacies of the US Patent Office while actually informative comments are mostly stuck below that threshold.
Full disclosure: I do own TIVO stock.