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LG is next major to take a licence to Intertrust DRM

Breaks deadlock around OMA patent pool

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LG Electronics has licensed Intertrust's patents for its mobile voice and data products.

The patents will allow LG rights for a number of digital rights management systems supported on its products. In February, Intertrust announced a new cut price licensing program for its patents, the most important of which relate to how keys are securely managed in a DRM, how to support a domain of related devices with DRM, and how to interoperate between different DRM systems.

This move broke the deadlock which had existed around the OMA patent pool that was being put together by the MPEG LA, but which also had ContentGuard as a key member. By bypassing that patent pool Intertrust was saying "you might want to license our patents, as long as you don't think you need the ContentGuard patents".

Contentguard feels it holds essential patents in regard to how rights are expressed, using a rights expression language (REL), though this is coming more and more into question, as there are other, simpler ways of expressing rights, for instance defining a prior domain through registering a family's or a business's devices and limiting acquired rights to these.

Since then Telefonica has taken a trial to Intertrust Marlin DRM technology, and now LG has taken a license to its patents to go with the sole license it had sold to Vodafone in November 2005. Perhaps an Intertrust backed OMA DRM will come to dominate mobile handsets after all.

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Faultline is published by Rethink Research, a London-based publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter is an assessment of the impact of the week's events in the world of digital media. Faultline is where media meets technology. Subscription details here.

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