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One-stop-shop product license for BD; player license $9.5, disc ¢11

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Press release

Quote:


Panasonic, Philips and Sony to Establish One Stop Shop Product License for Blu-ray Disc

Tokyo, Japan, Feb 25, 2009 - (JCN Newswire) - Panasonic, Philips and Sony are currently working with other Blu-ray Disc patent holders to establish a one-stop-shop license for Blu-ray Disc products. This license, which covers essential patents for Blu-ray Disc, DVD and CD, will be introduced in the middle of this year. 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 CEO of the new license company will be Mr. Gerald Rosenthal, former head of IP at IBM and more recently CEO 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 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 fees for the new product licenses are US$9.50 for a Blu-ray Disc player and US$14.00 for a Blu-ray Disc recorder. The per disc license fees for Blu-ray Disc will be US$0.11 for a read only disc, US$0.12 for a recordable disc and US$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 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.
post #2 of 24
Interesting.

So what about the BDA License Office? I don't see the BDA being mentioned in that PR.

And what about MPEG LA who "governs over" the BD Patent Pool? I don't see MPEG LA being mentioned either.
post #3 of 24
Since this only seems to refer to recordable discs, rewriteable discs, etc, I wonder if this has nothing to do with studios and the movie industry.

Maybe this will just cover burnable discs and not stamped discs. Don't all stamped discs need AACS and other licenses too that are not covered by this?
post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Everdog View Post

Since this only seems to refer to recordable discs, rewriteable discs, etc, I wonder if this has nothing to do with studios and the movie industry.

Maybe this will just cover burnable discs and not stamped discs. Don't all stamped discs need AACS and other licenses too that are not covered by this?

Read the article. Read-only discs are mentioned. As are players.
post #5 of 24
Looks like the royalties on the BD discs are about 2X what they are on DVD:

http://www.toshiba.co.jp/about/press/2005_03/pr0101.htm
post #6 of 24
Thanks for the post Grubert!

Seems like the discussions in MPEG-LA have broken down, causing this seperate spin off. Problem with it is that it does not include patents from other companies (Samsung comes to mind) so an implementor is left having to figure out how to get a license for the rest of the bits.

It is also quite expensive as today's standards go. As a way of reference, an MPEG-4 AVC patent is only 35 cents or so and goes down from there with maximum caps. FYI, one would have to pay for all the codecs, and current red laser DVD fees on top of it.

And 11 cents per disc? That is quite high. Wonder what the reaction of the studios is.
post #7 of 24
The big one I don't see listed is Toshiba. I wonder if the BDA then forwards a cut of this to them. It says that it covers DVD so you would think so. I am interested in seeing more information on this.
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by jvillain View Post

The big one I don't see listed is Toshiba. I wonder if the BDA then forwards a cut of this to them. It says that it covers DVD so you would think so. I am interested in seeing more information on this.

BDA does not play a role in this. They are a standards setting organization. IP collection is handled externally as this press release indicates.

Patent pools like this are voluntary meaning that they include whoever is interested in pooling their interests (in this case, the three companies mentioned). Companies are then faced to pay others not in the pool.

There can be backroom agreements to have one company act as a representative for them in such pools. But I don't see Toshiba or any other major company participating this way.

Finally, it doesn't include DVD per-se. It only includes the part of DVD which these three companies hold IP in. Mind you, Philips and Panasonic have substantial patents in that area but as you note, Toshiba and others (e.g. Warner) must be included for the license to be all inclusive.
post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Stewart View Post

Looks like the royalties on the BD discs are about 2X what they are on DVD:

You are comparing price only to the DVD6C group. You must include the 3C Patent Group (Pioneer, Philips, Sony, LG, etc.) side of DVD as well.
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

Thanks for the post Grubert!

Seems like the discussions in MPEG-LA have broken down, causing this seperate spin off. Problem with it is that it does not include patents from other companies (Samsung comes to mind) so an implementor is left having to figure out how to get a license for the rest of the bits.

It is also quite expensive as today's standards go. As a way of reference, an MPEG-4 AVC patent is only 35 cents or so and goes down from there with maximum caps. FYI, one would have to pay for all the codecs, and current red laser DVD fees on top of it.

And 11 cents per disc? That is quite high. Wonder what the reaction of the studios is.

Any idea what the original DVD prices were? I had read the the original DVD players license were around $30.00. Then there was a battle between the patent holding licensing group and the China OEM's that changed it a lot.
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calamus View Post

Any idea what the original DVD prices were? I had read the the original DVD players license were around $30.00. Then there was a battle between the patent holding licensing group and the China OEM's that changed it a lot.

I do have an idea but not sure it is appropriate to disclose it . It is not $30 though in any kind of volume.
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendell R. Breland View Post

You are comparing price only to the DVD6C group. You must include the 3C Patent Group (Pioneer, Philips, Sony, LG, etc.) side of DVD as well.

Well, this license is not all inclusive either. Where is the BD+ licensing for example? There are also others who would claim IP on the optical disc/format.
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grubert View Post

Read the article. Read-only discs are mentioned. As are players.

Quote:


...US$14.00 for a Blu-ray Disc recorder...
The per disc license fees for Blu-ray Disc will be US$0.11 for a read only disc, US$0.12 for a recordable disc and US$0.15 for a rewritable disc.

Yes, they were all mentioned.
post #14 of 24
OK, I got the numbers for DVD *discs* and this number is not out of line relative to that if there are not fees from others...
post #15 of 24
So will this finally settle the problem pointed out here?:
Quote:


Be aware, however, that the bulk of Blu-ray patent holders have yet to declare their licensing intentions. For example, although many are currently working to establish MPEG LA as the administrator of a joint patent pool, this effort is still ongoing. Thus replicators and content publishers alike remain in the dark as to any further obligations.

http://www.emedialive.com/Articles/R...rticleID=14071

Is this what you were talking about Amirm? I thought they siad they were trying to settle everything by the end of this month.

Also, didn't I read that people who make BDs need to put some money in escrow to pay these possible licensing fees that they may decide on in the future?
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

Well, this license is not all inclusive either. Where is the BD+ licensing for example? There are also others who would claim IP on the optical disc/format.

My response to Lee's post was to point out there are more DVD patent holders/groups than the one he referenced. I must not have been clear.
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendell R. Breland View Post

My response to Lee's post was to point out there are more DVD patent holders/groups than the one he referenced. I must not have been clear.

OK. I thought you were telling that this license is for everything and the other is not. To the extent both are the rates from the major patent holders in the format, I thought his comparison was somewhat fair .
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calamus View Post

Any idea what the original DVD prices were? I had read the the original DVD players license were around $30.00. Then there was a battle between the patent holding licensing group and the China OEM's that changed it a lot.

It was widely reported a little over a year ago that the price per player was $15. There was serious blow back occurring in China over it as the companies actually making the players were only making $1 per player. The Chinese government was going to flex it's muscle if royalties weren't reduced. About a year ago there was a drop in the royalties but I do not know what they are now. One thing to note though is that the cost included a couple of chips that were proprietary and necessary in all DVD players. What they were I do not know.
post #19 of 24
http://www.emedialive.com/articles/r...rticleid=13818
Quote:


Blu-ray Disc Royalties
Complicating matters further is the reality that many patent holders have yet to declare their Blu-ray-specific licensing intentions. Seeking to avoid DVD’s complex multi-agent system (DVD6C, 4C, 3C, 1C, etc.), at least 18 stakeholders are currently working to establish MPEG LA as a one-stop BD licensing authority. However, it is unclear how successful this effort will be regarding the scope, terms, and rates of any possibly ensuing programs. For example, will royalties be sought when distributing BD-ROM AV (BDMV) or BD-R/RE AV (BDAV) content on recordable or rewritable discs (BD-R/RE and DVD±R/RW/RAM)? From whom? Any exemptions? Thresholds? Amounts?

"It is not yet decided how this will be handled," says Geary, who is responsible for MPEG LA’s Blu-ray and other new patent pools. "But it’s likely to be addressed either in connection with the blank disc or as a charge to the duplicator." Until more information is forthcoming, it is difficult to know how to proceed. However, rather than gambling on what might eventually unfold, it may be prudent to estimate and begin accruing funds immediately to cover any back royalties, interest, penalties, and taxes that might be assessed in the future.

So are all royalties set now? Or do companies still have to set aside $ for back royalties that "might be assessed in the future"?

This has always seemed strange. If you authored BDs, you were told that some of the royalties you would have to pay would be determined later. You basically had no clue what you owed.
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Everdog View Post

http://www.emedialive.com/articles/r...rticleid=13818

So are all royalties set now? Or do companies still have to set aside $ for back royalties that "might be assessed in the future"?

Unless there is another press release like the one here, the answer is NO. I know there are a number of other companies with claims against BD spec. Until they chime in, we don't know how much they want for their patents.

Quote:


This has always seemed strange. If you authored BDs, you were told that some of the royalties you would have to pay would be determined later. You basically had no clue what you owed.

It is the least talked about and strangest part of the CE business. Major companies hope that their cross licenses protects them against future claims. But in today's standards where you have many companies contributing to the standard worldwide, this is no longer true.

Standards are set, products shipped, and then the cost is decided! I am sure there is no business school which teaches that as the right way to do business .
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

Unless there is another press release like the one here, the answer is NO. I know there are a number of other companies with claims against BD spec. Until they chime in, we don't know how much they want for their patents.


It is the least talked about and strangest part of the CE business. Major companies hope that their cross licenses protects them against future claims. But in today's standards where you have many companies contributing to the standard worldwide, this is no longer true.

Standards are set, products shipped, and then the cost is decided! I am sure there is no business school which teaches that as the right way to do business .

In today's econony the last thing companies want is an expense that was unaccounted for or under-accounted. It seems that with this they just can't be sure.
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Everdog View Post

http://www.emedialive.com/articles/r...rticleid=13818

So are all royalties set now? Or do companies still have to set aside $ for back royalties that "might be assessed in the future"?

This has always seemed strange. If you authored BDs, you were told that some of the royalties you would have to pay would be determined later. You basically had no clue what you owed.

The replicators are currently required to collect royalties on the disks they replicate. That is part of the cost of each disk replicated. If you go to the Pacific site and read their pricing page you will see that in action down in the bullet points. Even if you think you have all the patents under control can some patent troll come along and still try a stick up? Yup. No one is safe from patents on any thing they own. The saving grace is that it costs more to go after individuals than you could get from a court case so the manufacturers take the hit and pass the costs on.

http://www.pacificdisc.com/PricingBluRay.html
post #23 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Stewart View Post

And what about MPEG LA who "governs over" the BD Patent Pool? I don't see MPEG LA being mentioned either.

The MPEG LA says it is okay with this:

Quote:


Commenting on the proposal: Tom O'Reilly of MPEG LA, a firm that licenses patent pools required for use of the MPEG-2, MPEG-4 Visiual (Part 2), IEEE 1394, VC-1, ATSC and AVC/H.264 standards, said, "MPEG LA's goal is to serve the marketplace, and the principle that has guided our mission is that a single license with as much essential intellectual property as possible best does that. The formation of a joint license takes place in several steps. The first is facilitation of discussions among essential patent holders to develop a single joint license, and the last is choice of licensing administrator. It is up to patent holders to determine how they wish to license their patents.

"MPEG LA has spent about three years on the first of those steps, facilitation. Based on those facilitation efforts, we concluded that at the present time the best opportunity to achieve our goal of seeing the marketplace served by a single license is to see if the three-company initiative may succeed in achieving that result," O'Reilly told TWICE.



http://www.twice.com/article/CA6640026.html?q=blu%2Dray
post #24 of 24
Anything that makes it cheaper and easier to make Blu-ray products is good news.
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