Japanese digital terrestrial broadcasters resolve patent issue

Louise Duffy | 29-03-2013
Japanese patent pool licence administrator ULDAGE has reported that the digital terrestrial broadcasters of the Japan Commercial Broadcasters Association, Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK), and the Open University of Japan, and ULDAGE, have executed licence agreements for patents relating to digital terrestrial broadcasting.
Digital terrestrial broadcasting, which started in Japan in December 2003, is provided in conformity with the so-called ARIB Standards established through discussions among the participating members of the Association of Radio Industries and Businesses (ARIB). The standards reflect technologies, suggestions, and ideas of numerous broadcasters, device manufacturers, and other concerned parties, and consequently, there is a wide variety of patent holders involved in such technologies, and a large number of patents are also involved.
Unless appropriate measures are taken to tackle this kind of complex patent issue, the standards themselves or the growth of digital terrestrial broadcasting business itself could be negatively affected.
ULDAGE was established in July 2006 in order to resolve such patent issues and promote the growth of the digital television broadcasting system by gathering various patents relating to digital television broadcasting in one place and then licensing them as a package through the so-called patent pooling method.
At present, ULDAGE has pooled approximately 500 patents held by 14 patent holders. Under the licence programme intended for receivers, which was implemented back in 2007, 161 licensee companies manufacture and sell such devices, and the programme has contributed to the establishment of the environment for the expansion of access to digital television in relation to the complete transition from analogue broadcasting to digital broadcasting.
ULDAGE has long pursued negotiations with the representatives of the broadcasters to materialise the licence programme for digital broadcasting. It says the licence agreements with the broadcasters is groundbreaking in that the broadcasters will now reward the patent holders, namely, the developers of the relevant technologies, by directly bearing an appropriate proportion of royalties for the use of such technologies.
As a result, the broadcasters will be able to further their broadcasting businesses in a stable condition without any concern over the issue of digital terrestrial broadcasting-related patents pooled with ULDAGE.