Dish's AutoHop feature will keep helping customers jump past commercials. At least for the time being.
A judge in U.S. District Court in Central California denied Fox's request for a preliminary injunction against AutoHop, which allows Dish Network customers to skip past advertisements.
Fox requested the preliminary injunction in August, as part of a copyright-infringement legal battle between Dish and Fox. (ABC, NBC and CBS also have their own legal entanglements with Dish over the AutoHop feature.)
The network told TheWrap in a statement that it plans to appeal the court's decision to deny the injunction.
"We are disappointed the court erred in finding that Fox's damages were not suitable for a preliminary injunction," Fox's statement reads. "We intend to appeal that portion of the court's decision, as well as the court's separate findings concerning the PrimeTime Anytime service. DISH is marketing and benefiting from an unauthorized VOD service that illegally copies FOX's valuable programming."
"The need for a preliminary injunction could not be greater," Fox said in court papers seeking an injunction, adding that Auto Hop cuts "the legs out from under the advertiser-supported broadcast television business model."
Dish has countered that its AutoHop feature is merely a more technologically sophisticated version of the fast-forward button on VCRs -- or, in a slightly more contemporary analogy, a souped-up version of DVR technology.
"Today's ruling is a victory for common sense and customer choice," said Dish attorney R. Stanton Dodge in a statement. "DISH is gratified that the Court has sided with consumer choice and control by rejecting Fox's efforts to deny our customers access to PrimeTime Anytime and AutoHop -- key features of the Hopper Whole-Home DVR.
Judge Dolly Gee's ruling was not immediately made public so the companies could delete confidential trade information, Dish said.
Hollywood Reporter first reported news of the ruling.