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June 30, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:46pm


By CBR Staff Writer

The trouble with complex technologies such as video compression or digital video disks, is that numerous companies tend to work on the development of them, and you end up with several companies holding the patents to different parts of the technology. Such is the case with the complex MPEG2 video compression format, and the result is that anyone wishing to build devices that compress or decompress video using MPEG2 have to do deals with a dozen or so companies for the privilege. Now, a group of nine companies and one university have got together to pool their MPEG2 patents, and had their proposal approved by the US Department of Justice. Under the proposal, anyone looking to build equipment that stores or transmits the compressed video data would go to one agent, and get a single license, known as an MPEG LA, which will be jointly owned by the patent holders. Those patent holders are the Trustees of Columbia University, Fujitsu Ltd, General Instrument Corp, Lucent Technologies Inc, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co Ltd, Mitsubishi Electric Corp, Scientific Atlanta Inc, Philips NV and Sony Corp. Interestingly, Philips and Sony are also the two companies that have been trying to lead such a move among Digital Video Disk patent holders, (CI No 2,988), although so far, of the ten companies holding DVD patents, only Pioneer Electronics Corp seems to have joined the party (CI No 3,150).

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