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Gemstar Patent Case Dismissed

July 27, 2002|Jon Healey

As expected, a federal judge in North Carolina on Friday dismissed the rest of a patent infringement lawsuit Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. and SuperGuide Corp. had brought against EchoStar Communications Corp., EchoStar announced.

U.S. District Judge Lacy H. Thornburg previously granted EchoStar's motion to dismiss most of the suit, which contended that Littleton, Colo.-based EchoStar violated three of SuperGuide's patents for on-screen program guides for satellite TV services. Pasadena-based Gemstar had licensed the technology from SuperGuide in North Carolina, and both companies sought to enforce the patents against EchoStar. Thornburg also ordered Gemstar and SuperGuide to pay EchoStar's legal fees.

The case was one of several major patent lawsuits by Gemstar, which holds nearly 200 patents for the software used in television program guides. That software is critical in an era when cable and satellite TV operators offer hundreds of channels.

Still pending are cases before the International Trade Commission and federal courts in North Carolina, Georgia and Colorado. An administrative law judge at the ITC ruled last month that EchoStar and two cable set-top manufacturers had not violated Gemstar's patents, sending Gemstar's already depressed shares tumbling further. Gemstar has appealed the ruling to the full commission.

Shares of Gemstar rose 12 cents to $4.09 on Nasdaq. The ruling was announced after markets closed.

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