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Patent pool open for DTV receivers in Japan

Posted: 08 Feb 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:DTV? digital TV? patent licensing? Matsushita? Uldage?

A group of Japanese consumer companies has launched a one-stop patent-licensing program for DTV receivers, which aims to simplify licensing procedures.

Uldage Inc., established by Matsushita Electric, Mitsubishi Electric and Sony last August, has made available a program called the Patent Pool License for Arib Standards&8212;a standards-making body in Japan that defined Japan's DTV broadcasting standards.

Ten companies responded to Uldage's patent call last year. To date, the program includes patents owned by France Telecom, Telediffusion de France, Hitachi, Matsushita Electric, Mitsubishi, Japan Broadcasting, Sanyo, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba and Victor Company of Japan.

Under Uldage's program, manufacturers or distributors of digital broadcasting devices can license major patents for DTV tuners at a relatively low cost. The royalty for TV sets with tuners that can receive both satellite and terrestrial broadcasts is about $1.65 per unit. Patent fees for TV sets with tuners that can receive digital terrestrial broadcasts are only about 82 cents per unit. One Seg, Japan's terrestrial DTV broadcasting service dedicated to mobile equipment, charges about 41 cents per unit.

"At present, we have not covered all the patents, but will continue inviting participants to achieve full coverage," said Yoshihide Nakamura, president and CEO of Uldage.

Uldage's patent pool is designed to concentrate on patents for communications and transmission technologies and electronic program guides. It excludes technologies covered by existing patent-licensing companies like MPEG LA.

An independent patent organization, the Japan Intellectual Property Arbitration Center, evaluated the validity of the patents submitted by the 10 companies.

- Yoshiko Hara
EE Times

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