Patent pool with new twists
After exhaustive research and negotiations, Kramer said One-Blue has devised a patent pool with three unique characteristics that he argued are fundamentally different from other patent pools such as MPEG.
First, One-Blue has enabled a practice called “pre-netting.” It allows patent holders to subtract from the new licensing program financial arrangements created through cross-licensing agreements predating the new patent pool.
Second, divisional patents are treated differently under One-Blue. Unlike MPEG, in which each party with essential patent is treated equally (thus royalties are divided equally), patents under One-Blue’s program are weighted, ensuring that bigger inventions more highly valued.
Third, One-Blue offers a “product license” rather than a format license. Called “per batch” licensing, “You pay for what you ship,” said One-Blue’s Lenihan. “Getting a license for what you ship, per batch” means tighter control and enforcement of patents, explained Lenihan.
Previously, many existing programs offered a license for total production for the lifetime of the essential patents, where products are in a state of “being licensed” without royalty payments.
Under the new program, licensees are required to use a label with a barcode containing anti-counterfeiting holographic marks, “like a banknote,” explained Lenihan. Labels must be placed on retail cartons of all players/recorders destined for retail. Further, all pre-recorded and recordable BD disc products must display the registration logo.
While companies say that they have essential IP to certain technologies, they don’t like litigation because of the time and resources involved, observed Kramer.
One-Blue hopes to enforce licensors’ IP through its joint licensing program which it claims has teeth. For one, One-Blue officials say that they will ask custom officials in various countries to intercept unlicensed products with the aim to create a level playing field.
Through the combination with border seizures, labels and logos on BD products, One-Blue expects that retailers can now easily determine whether products they sell are licensed or not. If it is discovered that a manufacturer is unlicensed, One-Blue said it reserves the right to enforce against retailers and others
throughout the distribution chain.
Ultimately, the success of One-Blue will be measured by how many OEMs it can sign up. Kramer said a number of “major” Chinese OEMs are already One-Blue’s licensees.
Those in China who have gotten on board thus far are: BBK AV Electronics Group; China Hualu Group Co.; Dongguan Contel Electronics Co.; Huizhou Desay A&V Science and Technology Co.; Shenzhen Maxmade Technology Co.; Shenzhen Sea Star Technology Co.; TCL Technoly Electronics (Huizhou) Co.; Guangzhou OPPO Mobile Telecommunications Corp.; and Guangzhou Panyu Juda Car Audio Equipment Co.
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