Chinese manufacturers sue DVD patent pool

Licence fees 'contrary to antitrust law'

The company charged with licensing the intellectual property enshrined in the DVD standard has been accused of violating US antitrust laws by a pair of peeved player makers from China.

Wuxi Multimedia and Orient Power (Wuxi) both claim that the 3C Patent Group's licensing regime limits their ability to compete effectively in the DVD player market, the China Daily reports.

Like many standards, DVD comprises a number of patented technologies, all of which are pooled together and offered under a single usage rights and royalty licence. This pooling approach is common when a number of firms have contributed intellectual property to a standard.

However, the 3C group appears to charge Chinese player makers rather more than it charges US-based manufacturers. That, say the two plaintiffs, is discriminatory, unfair and runs contrary to US antitrust law.

Both companies are seeking the return of all royalties collected by the 3C group, damages amounting to three times that figure and a declaration that the DVD patent pool is invalid.

If the plaintiffs are successful, it could result in a flood of even cheaper no-name DVD players on the market. ®

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