UPDATE U.S. District Judge David Nuffer has sided with DISH Network (NASDAQ: DISH) and tossed out the verdict that was handed down by a Salt Lake City jury just 11 days ago, NEXT TV reported. That jury awarded parental control tech maker ClearPlay, Inc. $469 million in its patent suit against DISH.
ClearPlay makes software that allows parents to skip through video content they find objectionable. The company sued DISH in 2014, alleging that DISH’s commercial-skipping “AutoHop” features in DISH’s Hopper DVR set top boxes violate two of ClearPlay’s patents.
DISH said in a March 3 filing that its technology works differently from the technology in ClearPlay’s patents. No reasonable juror, DISH claimed, would determine infringement. In the end, the judge agreed.
Reacting to the news that the decision against it was overturned, DISH said in a statement that it “has stood firm in its belief that it did not infringe ClearPlay’s patents and is gratified by the court’s ruling.”
It is important to note that this patent infringement case applies to DISH’s flagship Pay-TV business and does not directly affect its burgeoning wireless business. However, there could have been indirect consequences. To the extent that DISH would have had to pay ClearPlay nearly half a billion dollars to satisfy the earlier court ruling likely would have affected the company’s ability to raise money it needs to progress with its 5G network deployment and be able to satisfy its FCC population coverage obligations, namely, 70 percent by June 2023, and 75 percent by June 2025.