According to a twice.com report, Panasonic, Philips, and Sony—key patent holders for Blu-ray technologies—have proposed a licensing program that “will stimulate the growth of the market for Blu-ray Disc products” by decreasing royalty rates for Blu-ray products by at least 40 percent. The program will likely decrease costs for consumers.
The report says that Panasonic, Philips, and Sony are working with other Blu-ray patent holders to establish a “one-stop-shop” licensing program that will encompass essential patents for Blu-ray disc, DVD, and CD formats. The single license is expected to be available by the middle of the year. A new independent licensing company is being set up and will be based in the U.S. with branches around the world. Gerald Rosenthal, former head of IP at IBM and CEO of Open Invention Network, will be the CEO of the company.
Rosenthal says in the report, “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.”
A cnet.com report says that the program will alleviate the need for manufactures (of both hardware and software) to ink deals with—and pay royalties to—each of the separate companies that hold patents. The fees for the new licenses will be $9.50 for a Blu-ray player, $14 for a Blu-ray recorder, 11 cents for a recordable disc, and 15 cents for a rewritable disc.
The twice.com report continues by saying that the program also provides measures that assist in the identification of unlicensed products in the market and address companies who have failed to obtain proper licenses for Blu-ray products.
A pcmag.com article says that Futuresource, a marketing analysis firm, predicts that Blu-ray disc sales will exceed 80 million in the U.S. this year. Blu-ray disc sales increased 320 percent in the U.S. in 2008 to 24 million units.