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OCAP fees deemed reasonable

Wed, 08/31/2005 - 8:00pm
Staff

Via Licensing Corp. has released lower-than-expected licensing terms for patents linked to the 1.0 versions of OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP) and the Digital Video Broadcasting Multimedia Home Platform (DVB-MHP).

OCAP fees will run $1.50 per consumer device (a digital set-top or television, for example) for manufacturers, and, for cable operators, 30 cents per subscriber per year, or a one-time five-year license for $1.50.

DVB-MHP fees will run $2 per device, and 25 cents per household per year, or $1.25 under the five-year option.

Those terms should put CE manufacturers at ease. Many feared that the license could run upwards of $5 or $10 per device.

"I think everyone was pleasantly pleased," about the licensing terms, said Mike Malcy, vice president of marketing and business development for Vidiom Systems, a maker of OCAP stacks and developer tools. "If it came out too high, it could have impeded the market."

Having those fees identified will enable operators and manufacturers to "fine-tune their analysis on whether to deploy either of the technologies," said Mark Allen, executive vice president of technology licensing at OpenTV, one of the pool's patent holders.

Although most CableLabs specifications are created under royalty-free pools, OCAP incorporates the bulk of MHP, which uses a royalty-bearing model.

Via Licensing, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dolby Laboratories, is administering the OCAP and DVB-MHP patent licensing programs and patent pools on behalf of the patent holders.

Patent holders include Time Warner Cable and Comcast Corp., the companies behind the OCAP Development LLC joint venture. In addition to OpenTV, other identified patent holders include Panasonic, Royal Philips Electronics, Samsung Electronics and Thomson.

Via Licensing did not say how the fees will be divvied up, but noted that allocations will be made on a formula approved by the pool members.

The goal is to have a final patent license agreement available by Q4 2005. But that's considered an "aggressive target," according to Jason Johnson, Via Licensing's director of licensing and business development. He anticipates the launch could happen by early 2006.

Fee Type (OCAP 1.0) License fee per licensed product
Consumer devices $1.50 per device
Service providers $0.30 per subscriber (household) per year Option: One-time, five-year license for $1.50
Fee Type (DVB MHP 1.0) License fee per licensed product
Consumer devices $2.00 per device
Service providers $0.25 per subscriber (household) per year Option: One-time, five-year license for $1.
Source: Via Licensing

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