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Panasonic, Philips and Sony, who own the majority patents for Blu-ray disc (BD) technology, are currently working with other Blu-ray patent holders to establish a one-stop-shop license for BD products. This license, which covers essential patents for Blu-ray Disc, DVD and CD, will be introduced in the middle of this year. The move may allow third parties to engage into Blu-ray business at lower price and with fewer complexities.

The fees for the new product licenses are $9.50 for a Blu-ray disc player (down from $30) and $14.00 for a BD recorder. The per disc license fees for Blu-ray disc will be $0.11 for a read only disc, $0.12 for a recordable disc and $0.15 for a rewritable disc. As a result of the efficiencies obtained with the combined license offering, the royalty rates for Blu-ray disc products are expected to be at least 40% lower than the current cumulative royalty rates for individual Blu-ray disc, DVD and CD format licenses.

The three founding companies believe that the introduction of this simplified one-stop shop product license will stimulate the growth of the market for Blu-ray disc products. Any holder of essential patents for Blu-ray disc, DVD and CD patents is invited to join this licensing entity as a licensor and also as shareholder. 

The license program will be offered by a new independent licensing company that will be based in the United States with branch offices in Asia, Europe and Latin America. The chief executive of the new license company will be Gerald Rosenthal, former head of IP at IBM and more recently chief executive of Open Invention Network.

 “By establishing a new licensing entity that offers a single license for Blu-ray disc products at attractive rates, I am confident that it will foster the growth of the Blu-ray disc market and serve the interest of all companies participating in this market, be it as licensee or licensor,”  said Mr. Rosenthal.

The Blu-ray disc product licensing program aims to create a level playing field in the market for Blu-ray disc products by introducing special measures to encourage companies selling Blu-ray disc products to comply with their license obligations. The program also includes measures to easily identify unlicensed products in the market and a system to address those who may not have obtained proper licenses for Blu-ray disc products.  

In this one-stop-shop product license, the new license company will be a single point of contact for licensees, greatly reducing the burden on licensed companies that would otherwise have to report to multiple patent pools.

Tags: Blu-ray, Philips, Panasonic, Sony

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