Supreme Court win for NDS

Digital TV technology specialist NDS is claiming victory in a long-running dispute with US satellite operator EchoStar and associated companies, following a US Supreme Court ruling.

The Supreme Court of the United States of America has denied a petition to hear the challenge by EchoStar Satellite Corporation, now known as Dish Network LLC, EchoStar Communications Corporation, EchoStar Technologies Corporation and NagraStar L.L.C., a joint venture company between the EchoStar parties and Kudelski Group (collectively, ‘EchoStar’), to a Ninth Circuit decision in which NDS was stated to be the sole prevailing party in a lawsuit between EchoStar and NDS.

The Supreme Court’s denial ends the challenge to the Ninth Circuit’s award against EchoStar in August 2010, which awarded NDS $18 million and the release of a further $4.3 million of NDS’s funds held in escrow pending the appeals. NDS is seeking a further $1.7 million in attorney’s fees, costs and interest.

In August 2010, the Ninth Circuit stated in its decision that “EchoStar did not succeed ‘on any significant issue’ or ‘achieve any of the benefit it sought in bringing suit’ under the Communications Act.” In February 2011, the Ninth Circuit further stated, “As we discussed in the memorandum decision, EchoStar’s characterisation of itself as a prevailing party defies both the legal standard and common sense.”

In 2003, EchoStar filed a $2 billion claim against NDS, alleging that NDS was responsible for the compromise of EchoStar’s satellite television programming platform. NDS vigorously defended the allegations made against it, establishing that NDS played no part in the compromise of EchoStar’s security system.

Dr. Abe Peled, Executive Chairman, NDS Group Limited, noted that in May 2008, NDS was “overwhelmingly exonerated” by the jury following trial, and said the company was gratified that the Supreme Court denial could now be recognised as conclusive validation that NDS was not involved in compromising the EchoStar platform, putting firmly to rest the unsavoury insinuations made during this court case which it believe were designed to malign NDS’s reputation.

“As the industry’s leading provider of pay-TV security solutions, NDS has a known reputation for successfully protecting billions of dollars worth of content for its customers and being at the forefront of the battle against piracy which is so injurious to the industry,” claimed Peled. “From the outset of the allegations made by EchoStar, we have maintained that the claims were baseless and an effort to thwart competition and deflect attention from a fundamentally flawed technology and strategy pursued by EchoStar and NagraStar. NDS today stands proud of its position as a leading global provider of end-to-end software solutions to the pay-television industry, achieved not through the underhanded schemes alleged by EchoStar, but through the sheer hard work and investment in its 5200 global employees who we believe include some of the brightest and most talented engineers in the industry, with a patent portfolio of over 475 granted patents and over 500 patents pending. This decision is an endorsement to the hard work of our valued employees,” he declared.

“In bringing a $2 billion dollar lawsuit against a company much smaller than themselves, we believe that EchoStar looked to remove a formidable competitor, in NDS, from the market,” he asserted.

“Their claims were overwhelmingly rejected and today NDS saw the release of $4.3 million and expects to receive a further $18 million from EchoStar. There can rarely be a more satisfactory outcome for a defendant. The court case has been a nine-year road for NDS,but at no time did we lose faith in ourselves or in the US legal system. We will continue to pursue our claim for additional attorney’s fees, costs and interest,” he concluded.

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