NDS dismisses Echostar lawsuit claims as baseless

LONDON: The litigation between News Corp's NDS and Canal Plus may have been resolved earlier this year but Rupert Murdoch still has a fight on his hands.



A Bloomberg report states that last week EchoStar Communications, which is the second-largest US satellite-television provider, sued News Corp's NDS Group.

EchoStar claims that NDS employees hacked into its systems and illegally deciphered coding for the "smart cards" that give customers access to programming. Like the above mentioned Canal Plus suit, this one also accuses NDS of indulging in conspiracy, misappropriation of trade secrets and racketeering. The extent of the allegations could allow a court to triple any damages that Echostar is seeking.

NDS has countered by describing the allegations as baseless and nothing more than an attempt by a competitor to cause harm. NDS has noted the repetition in the suit adding that if Echostar had a solid foundation on which to build the case, it would have brought up the matter earlier.

There could be a reason for Echostar's delay in filing a suit. Ever since September 2002, EchoStar had been looking to join the fight against NDS by joining the Canal Plus lawsuit. However, when the dispute came to a close with Murdoch's acquisition of Vivendi's Italian pay TV unit Telepiu, Echostar decided to file a suit of its own.

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