At the request of DISH Network and its affiliate EchoStar, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has agreed to re-examine a key digital video recorder (DVR) patent that is at the center of the satellite companies’ ongoing legal dispute with TiVO, Inc. In 2006, TiVO—the pioneer of “time-warp” video recording technology—won a district court judgment against EchoStar, which had been accused of incorporating technology that infringed upon TiVO patents in DVR devices marketed to EchoStar customers. After losing on appeal, DISH (on behalf of EchoStar) paid $104.6 million last October in court-ordered damages to TiVO. Although EchoStar maintains that it has developed technical workarounds in its DVR products that avoid the patent issues raised by TiVO, TiVO has asked the court to hold EchoStar in contempt of an injunction barring unlicensed usage of TiVO patents on grounds that the workarounds in question continue to violate those patents. (An evidentiary hearing in the contempt case is scheduled to begin on February 17.) On Tuesday, EchoStar and DISH confirmed that the USPTO granted the companies’ request for review of TiVO Patent 389, which covers a system that “allows the user to store selected broadcast programs while the user is simultaneously watching or reviewing another program.” In granting the request, the companies said the USPTO found “a substantial new question of patentability as to the software claims in light of prior patents that appear to render TiVO’s 389 patent invalid.” Observing, however, that the USPTO “grants most patent reexamination requests,” TiVO sounded a note of skepticism as it proclaimed: “we are confident that the USPTO will once again confirm the validity of all the claims of the Time Warp patent.”