Sun, 17 Feb 2008

Patent Troll Attacks Cable, Digital TV Standards

If you're looking for a good argument for reform of the current patent laws, look no further. This suit, assuming it's success, could put the FCC in the uncomfortable position of having mandated adoption of patented technology - efffectively conferring a 20 year monopoly on television signals to these thieves.

A patent troll firm in suburban Philadelphia, Rembrandt IP Management, is trying to force large cable operators and major broadcasters to pay substantial license fees on the transmission of digital TV signals and Internet services. The firm is apparently trying to get 0.5% of all revenues from services that supposedly infringe on the patents. The targeted companies include ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, Charter and Cablevision. According to MultiChannel News, Rembrandt's assault is especially aggressive, even for a patent troll: 'It is attacking two key technology standards used by the cable and broadcast industries, CableLabs' DOCSIS and the Advanced Television Systems Committee's digital-TV spec. "If they're successful, this could affect everything from the cost of cable service to the price of TVs," said the attorney close to the litigation, who spoke only on condition of anonymity.

(link) [Slashdot]

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