Dish loses out on industry award because of lawsuit

Thu Jan 10, 2013 6:06pm EST

* 'Hopper with Sling' was up for Best of CES award

* CBS says product pulled due to litigation

By Liana B. Baker

Jan 10 (Reuters) - There's nothing Dish Network loves more than a fight.

Charlie Ergen, chairman and owner of Dish, has appeared in many highly public spats with companies and has taken his fights to courts across the country.

Analysts say Ergen loves leverage, or getting the upper hand over other companies, which may be the reason he finds himself in so many corporate battles. On Tuesday, Dish made a surprise $2.28 billion bid for wireless company Clearwire Corp, setting the stage for a takeover battle with Sprint Nextel S.N.

Dish's chief executive, Joe Clayton, accused CBS Corp on Thursday of meddling in an industry award competition and disqualifying Dish because of a lawsuit between the two companies.

On Monday, Dish unveiled the latest version of its controversial digital video recorder at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Dubbed the "Hopper with Sling," the DVR has new features such as the ability to stream live TV and recorded programs outside the home.

Dish is already embroiled in a legal battle with all the major broadcast networks, including CBS, over the DVR's first iteration, and may spark more disputes with its updated version.

"We are saddened that CNET's staff is being denied its editorial independence because of CBS' heavy-handed tactics," Clayton said in a statement.

CNET, a technology blog owned by CBS, chooses the winners of the "Best of CES" awards that are given out every year after the show.

CBS Interactive, the unit that oversees CNET, confirmed that the product was "removed from consideration due to active litigation involving our parent company CBS Corp."

CBS Interactive added that it would no longer review products "manufactured by companies with which we are in litigation with respect to such a product," but did not elaborate on how widely it would enforce the rule.

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