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Wednesday, December 16, 2009
The Philips Interim Blu-ray Licence Explained


Philips and the MEDIA-TECH Association are seeking to improve and clarify the issues related to the high costs and the confusing structure of royalties and licence fees for the Blu-ray Disc format, in an effort to accelerate the investments in the format.

There are concerns in the media manufacturing industry that the high costs and the complicated structure of royalties and licence fees for Blu-ray Disc manufacture are inhibiting investment in the format. The MEDIA-TECH Association, along with its Replicators Committee, has been addressing these issues, and seeking improvement and clarification directly from the patent holders. Philips attended a recent Committee meeting to explain directly to the replication community how the structure of its own interim fee works.

Industry experts have long indicated that the lack of a unified fee structure for Blu-ray Disc manufacture was a distinct handicap for development of the Blu-ray Disc market. Following dialogue between patent holders and the media manufacturing sector, a single 'patent pool' licence is expected soon. Fees that will be payable within the Blu-ray Disc manufacturing sector include the following:

- Patent License, a Joint Agreement from the One Blu pool, which is to be finalised
- Formatter Reseller Agreement (Components, Mastering) from Philips, to be finalised
- Patent License, a Philips-only Agreement, now available
- BD ROM Mark Agreements/keys, from Philips, now available
- Source Identification, or SID Code (IFPI)
- Specifications (Blu-ray Disc Association)
- Format and Logo License Agreement (Blu-ray Disc Association)
- Logo Guide and Artwork (Blu-ray Disc Association)Disc Manufacturer ID, or MID Code (Blu-ray Disc Association)

The Philips Interim Patent License Agreement is valid with immediate effect until 31 December 2010 at a cost of €25,000. Of the total fee, €10,000 is payable after execution of the licence, and the remainder of €15,000 EU must be paid by 31 December 2010. If replicators have already begun manufacturing Blu-ray Discs, they will receive a 50% discount on discs manufactured before 1 April 2009, Philips said.

The royalty rate for BD-ROM discs will be €0.04 but is creditable against the joint royalty rate once that has been implemented, subject to some obligations. These include compliance; a written request to switch from the Philips-only to the One Blu agreement within 90 days of notification; and the signing of a side letter.

Presentations such as this, from fee-collecting bodies, industry analysts, and technical experts, are at the core of the MEDIA-TECH Association industry events. Next year?s event will include a Blu-ray Disc Academy, with detailed insights into treading through the potential minefields of Blu-ray Disc manufacture and reaching the goal of successful and profitable production.

MEDIA-TECH Global Expo and Summit will be held May 19-21, 2010, at the Forum at the Messe Frankfurt Exhibition Center, Frankfurt, Germany.

In related news, the Blu-ray Disc Association is now accepting applications for all these companies that plan to use the '3D BD Logo' at the CES 2010 trade show. With the specifications for the 3D BD format to be ready in the following months, CES is expected to be the first major show in which the first 3D BD devices will be showcased in public. More information on 3D BD Logo licensing for CES 2010 (3D LLA for CES 2010) is available at the BDA's licensing web site.


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