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16. Intellectual Property and Legal Matters

16.1 Who owns the name Blu-ray Disc and its logo?
16.2 Who claims and who administers BD patent rights?
16.3 What licensing obligations exist when duplicating and distributing content on writable BD discs?
16.4 What licensing obligations exist when replicating and distributing content on prerecorded BD discs?


16.1 Who owns the name Blu-ray Disc and its logo?
For the most part, the Blu-ray Disc name and its logo are trademarks of the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA). Originally, Sony Corporation (Sony Kabushiki Kaisha) and other founding BD companies registered Blu-ray Disc in various countries but have since transferred ownership to the BDA.

As worldwide registration is not yet complete, to be safe, the BDA employs transitional language such as "Blu-ray Disc and the Blu-ray Disc logo are trademarks." Other related names and logos, including BONUSVIEW, BD-Live, Blu-ray 3D, AVCREC, BD Regional Playback Control (RPC) and BDXL, are also trademarks of the BDA (see figure 16.1).

Blu-ray Disc logos

Figure 16.1: Official Blu-ray Disc logos (used with permission of Blu-ray Disc Association)

 

16.2 Who claims and who administers BD patent rights?
Despite notions to the contrary, the Blu-ray patent picture is far more extensive than any one dominating company. Properly understood, BD intellectual property rights encompass everything from audio and video codecs, content protection systems and software to materials, manufacturing processes, packaging and more.

Seeking to avoid the complexities of DVD’s multi-agent system (DVD6C, 4C, 3C, 1C, etc.), MPEG LA began working in 2005 with BD’s multiple stakeholders to establish itself a one-stop essential Blu-ray patent licensing authority. Those who participated in this effort included: CyberLink, Dell, Disney, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, Philips Electronics, LG Electronics, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Pioneer, Samsung, Sanyo, Sharp, Sonic Solutions, Sony, TDK, Victor Company of Japan (JVC) and Warner Home Video. MPEG LA later abandoned its attempt in early 2009.

On Feb. 25, 2009, Panasonic, Philips and Sony announced their intentions to cooperate with each other and any interested patent holders to create a joint Blu-ray license. Under this plan, packages of essential BD, DVD and CD patent licenses will be made available to manufacturers and software publishers through an independent entity, established on Oct. 9, 2009 as One-Blue, LLC.

On Oct. 20, 2009, One-Blue issued a call for patents with their essentiality to BD products sold in the United States to be evaluated by Proskauer, Rose LLP (an international law firm that performs similar determinations for MPEG LA, DVD6C and 4C). An initial meeting of essential patent holders was held Nov. 6, 2009 in Japan. One-Blue officially launched its patent licensing program on July 1, 2011 and announced it to the world a little over a month later (see table).

One-Red, LLC, established in 2011 as a joint venture of Philips, Sony and Pioneer, administers the Blu-ray licensing program outside the United States, Canada and Japan on behalf of One-Blue.

One-Blue patent licensors (as of Aug. 2012): Cyberlink Corporation (shareholder), Dell Global B.V., Fujitsu Limited, Hewlett-Packard Company, Hitachi Consumer Electronics Ltd. (shareholder), JVC KENWOOD Corporation, Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. (shareholder), LG Electronics Inc., Panasonic Corporation (shareholder), Pioneer Corporation, Samsung Electronics Company Ltd. (shareholder), Sharp Corporation, Sony Corporation (shareholder), Taiyo Yuden Company Ltd., Yamaha Corporation.

One-Blue Essential BD/DVD/CD Patent Royalties
(as of July 1, 2011)
Products License Royalties (US$)
BD Player $9.00
BD Recorder $12.00
BD Player (in vehicle) $9.00
BD Playback Drive $7.00
BD Combi Drive $8.00
BD Recorder Drive $9.00
BD Playback Software $2.00
BD Playback Software (plug-in) $1.60
BD Combi Software $2.50
BD Recorder Software $3.00
BD Recorder Software (plug-in) $2.40
BD Recording Only Software $2.00
BD Recording Only Software (plug-in) $1.60
PC with pre-installed BD software and no BD Drive $1.50
PC with pre-installed BD software and BD Playback Drive $1.25
PC with pre-installed BD software and BD Combi Drive $1.50
PC with pre-installed BD software and BD Recorder Drive $1.75
BD Data Disc $0.0725
BD Movie Disc $0.0975
BD-R Disc $ 0.1075
BD-RE Disc $0.135
BDXL-R Disc $0.13
BDXL-RE Disc $0.16
Registration fee (five years) $25,000

To help distinguish licensed products, One-Blue requires authorized manufacturers to include supporting documentation with shipments as well as tag items and their containers with an assortment of registration labels and marks (see figure 16.2).

One-Blue Logos

Figure 16.2: Official One-Blue Registration Logo and Serial Number Label (used with permission of One-Blue, LCC)

On March 8, 2010, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Thomson Licensing (Technicolor), Toshiba Corporation and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (BD4C Licensing Group) announced they have commenced a joint licensing program beginning March 1, 2010. Under this plan, essential BD and DVD patent licenses will be made available through Toshiba (see table). This group has since changed its name to PREMIER BD and now includes Disney Enterprises as well as Columbia Technology Ventures (Columbia University).

PREMIER BD Essential BD/DVD Patent Royalties
(as of Mar. 8, 2010)
Products License Royalties (US$)
BD-Video Disc $0.04 per disc
BD-ROM Disc $0.04 per disc
BD-R Disc $0.065 per disc
BD-RE Disc $0.09 per disc
BD/DVD Hybrid Disc
(including BD/DVD Hybrid ROM Discs and BD/DVD Hybrid Video Discs)
$0.08 per disc
BD Decoder $1.00 per decoder, with an annual cap of $10,000,000
BD Encoder $1.50 per encoder, with an annual cap of $15,000,000
BD-Video Player $4.50 per player
BD-Video Combo Player $6.00 per player
BD-Video Recorder $7.00 per recorder
BD-Video Combo Recorder $6.00 per recorder
BD-ROM Drive $4.00 per drive
BD Recordable Disc Drive $6.00 per drive
BD-ROM Combo Drive $5.00 per drive
BD Combo Recordable Disc Drive $5.00 per drive

On September 8, 2010, LG Electronics announced that it will allow Blu-ray format implementers to use a number of the company’s patents without paying royalties. For a detailed description see: "LG Grants Royalty-Free Blu-ray Patent License." Hugh’s News 20 Sept. 2010.

In addition and notwithstanding participating in pools, such as One-Blue and PREMIER BD, companies typically offer the option to directly license their intellectual property. By way of example, Philips and Sony offer various programs to manufacturers who wish to license their essential BD patents (see tables).

Philips Electronics Essential BD Patent Royalties
(as of Apr. 1, 2010)
Product License Royalties
BD-ROM Data Disc €0.03/unit ($0.0365 U.S.) *
BD-ROM Movie Disc €0.04/unit ($0.0487 U.S.)
BD-Recordable Disc €0.06/unit ($0.0731 U.S.)
BD-Rewritable Disc €0.06/unit ($0.0731 U.S.)
BD Player €3.50/unit ($4.2628 U.S.)
BD Recorder €5.00/unit ($6.0897 U.S.)
* U.S. currency conversion on Aug. 2, 2012.
Sony Electronics Essential BD Patent Royalties
(as of May 20, 2008 and Nov. 16, 2010)
Products License Royalties (US$)
Blu-ray Disc ROM Disc 1.5% of net selling price or $0.03 (whichever is greater)
Blu-ray Disc R Disc 1.5% of net selling price or $0.06 (whichever is greater)
Blu-ray Disc RE Disc 1.5% of net selling price or $0.06 (whichever is greater)
Blu-ray Disc Player $2.25
Blu-ray Disc Recorder $3.00

MPEG LA also administers joint patent licenses for MPEG-2, MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, MPEG-4 MVC and VC-1 video codecs (see table). Keep in mind, however, that while these portfolios may be comprehensive, they are not exhaustive and include only essential patents. Thus, it is possible that other parties may be due royalties. For example, neither AT&T, nor many of the participants of a rival, and now abandoned, MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 joint patent licensing program administered by Via Licensing Corporation, are included in MPEG LA’s offering.

MPEG-2 patent licensors: Alcatel Lucent, British Telecommunications plc, Canon Inc., CIF Licensing, LLC, Cisco Technology, Inc., France Télécom, société anonyme, Fujitsu Limited, GE Technology Development, Inc., General Instrument Corporation, Hewlett-Packard Company, Hitachi, Ltd., JVC KENWOOD Corporation, KDDI Corporation, Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V., LG Electronics Inc., Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Multimedia Patent Trust, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, Panasonic Corporation, Robert Bosch GmbH, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., SANYO Electric Co., Ltd., Sharp Corporation, Sony Corporation, The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York, Thomson Licensing, Toshiba Corporation.

MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 patent licensors: Apple Inc., Cisco Systems Canada Co., Cisco Technology, Inc., DAEWOO Electronics Corporation, Dolby Laboratories Licensing Corporation, Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, France Télécom, société anonyme, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der angewandten Forschung e.V., Fujitsu Limited, Hewlett-Packard Company, Hitachi Consumer Electronics Co., Ltd., JVC KENWOOD Corporation, Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V., LG Electronics Inc., Microsoft Corporation, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, NTT DOCOMO, INC., Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, Panasonic Corporation, Polycom, Inc., Robert Bosch GmbH, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Sedna Patent Services, LLC, Sharp Corporation, Siemens AG, Sony Corporation, Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York, Toshiba Corporation.

MPEG-4 MVC patent licensors: Dolby Laboratories Licensing Corporation, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der angewandten Forschung e.V., Fujitsu Limited, Hewlett-Packard Company, Hitachi Consumer Electronics Co., Ltd., Koninklijke KPN N.V., LG Electronics Inc., Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, NTT DOCOMO, Inc., Panasonic Corporation, Sharp Corporation, Sony Corporation, The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York, Thomson Licensing.

VC-1 patent licensors: DAEWOO Electronics Corporation, Dolby Laboratories Licensing Corporation, France Télécom, société anonyme, Fujitsu Limited, JVC KENWOOD Corporation, Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V., LG Electronics Inc., Microsoft Corporation, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, Panasonic Corporation, Pantech Co., Ltd., Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Sharp Corporation, Siemens AG, Sony Corporation, Telenor ASA, Toshiba Corporation.

MPEG LA Essential Video Codec Patent Royalties
(abridged, U.S. funds)*
Products MPEG-2 MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 MPEG-4 MVC VC-1
Disc
(prerecorded/replicated, written/duplicated)
≤12 min = $0.01/disc ;
>12 min = $0.03/disc
(2003-09), $0.0176/disc (2010), $0.016/disc (after 2010)
≤12 min = $0.00/title;
>12 min = lower of 2% of sale price or $0.02/title
≤12 min = $0.00/title; >12 min = lower of 1% of sale price or $0.01/title; max. $6.5m/year ≤12 min = $0.00/title;
>12 min = lower of 2% of sale price or $0.02/title
Encoder
(recorder, etc.)
$2.50/unit (2002-09), $2.00/unit (2010) ≤100k units = $0.00/unit; >100k units = $0.20/unit; >5m units = $0.10/unit;
max. $3.5m/year (2005-06), $4.25 m/year (2007-08), $5m/year (2009-10), $6.5m/year (2011-2015)
$0.10/unit; max $6.5m/year ≤100k units = $0.00/unit;
>100k units = $0.20/unit;
>5m units = $0.10/unit;
max. $5m/year (2006-12)
Decoder
(player, etc.)
$2.50/unit (2002-09), $2.00/unit (2010) ≤100k units = $0.00/unit; >100k units = $0.20/unit; >5m units = $0.10/unit;
max. $3.5m/year (2005-06), $4.25 m/year (2007-08), $5m/year (2009-10), $6.5m/year (2011-2015)
$0.10/unit; max $6.5m/year ≤100k units = $0.00/unit;
>100k units = $0.20/unit;
>5m units = $0.10/unit;
max. $5m/year (2006-12)
Encoder and Decoder/Consumer Products
(recorder/player, camcorder, etc.)
$2.50/unit (2002-09), $2.00/unit (2010) ≤100k units = $0.00/unit; >100k units = $0.20/unit; >5m units = $0.10/unit;
max. $3.5m/year (2005-06), $4.25 m/year (2007-08), $5m/year (2009-10), $6.5m/year (2011-2015)
$0.10/unit; max $6.5m/year ≤100k units = $0.00/unit;
>100k units = $0.20/unit;
>5m units = $0.10/unit;
max. $5m/year (2006-12)
* Other future, current and historical computation methods and rates may be applicable.

Various industry groups develop, maintain and license the digital audio/video interface and related encryption technologies employed by BD-equipped computers and consumer electronics devices (see table). These include HDMI Licensing, LLC (HDMI), Digital Display Working Group (DVI), Video Electronics Standards Association (DisplayPort) and Digital Content Protection, LLC (HDCP).

Audio/Video Interface Licensing Fees and Patent Royalties
(U.S. funds)
License Fees and Royalties
DisplayPort Registration none
DVI Adopters Agreement none
HDMI Adopter Agreement $10K/year or $5K/year + $1.00/unit and $0.15/unit or
$0.05/unit w/trademarks or
$0.04/unit w/trademarks and HDCP
HDCP License Agreement $15K/year and
10K device keys = $1K; 100K device keys = $2.5K; 1M device keys = $5K
HDCP Component License Agreement $15K/year
HDCP Content Participation Agreement $50K/year

The Advanced Access Content System (AACS) is developed, administered and licensed by AACS LA, a consortium of technology and content providers consisting of IBM, Intel, Panasonic (Matsushita Electric), Sony, Toshiba, Microsoft, Disney and Warner Bros.

AACS Licensing Fees and Patent Royalties
(as of June 18, 2009, U.S. funds)
License Fees and Royalties
AACS Final Adopter Agreement

Adopter $25K/year + $5K/sub-category (max. $40K) for each of: player manufacturer, recorder manufacturer, drive manufacturer, component manufacturer, media manufacturer or
Licensed Content Producer $15K

prerecorded media = N/A
recordable media = $0.02/disc
+ $500/order

Device w/ECDSA
Type A Device Keys = $0.10/device
Type C Device Keys =
<100K copies/year = $3.5K
<1M copies/year = $12K
<10M copies/year = $30K
max. $60K/year
+ $500/order

AACS Device w/o ECDSA
Type A Device Keys = $0.08/device
Type C Device Keys =
<100K copies/year = $3K
<1M copies/year = $10K
<10M copies/year = $25K
max. $50K/year
+ $500/order

Type 3 MKB for Recorders = $0.02/device
max. $2K/year
+ $500/order

Drives = $0.02/device
+ $500/order

Content Certificates = $500/order

AACS Final Content Participant Agreement Content Participant = $40K/year
MKB = $500/order
Content certificate = $500/order + $0.04/disc or
$500/order +
<200K discs = $7,200 + $0.0360/disc
<500K discs = $12,000 + $0.0320/disc
<1M discs = $20,160 + $0.0202/disc
<2M discs = $34,474 + $0.0172/disc
<5M discs = $70,671 + $0.0141/disc
<10M discs = $121,554 + $0.0122/disc
<20M discs = $211,504 + $0.0106/disc
<30M discs = $291,875 + $0.0097/disc
<45M discs = $405,707 + $0.0090/disc
<60M discs = $513,895 + $0.0086/disc
<80M discs = $654,360 + $0.0082/disc
<110M discs = $860,483 + $0.0078/disc
<150M discs = $1,129,579 + $0.0075/disc
<200M discs = $1,460,923 + $0.0073/disc
<250M discs = $1,793,283 + $0.0072/disc
>250M discs = $1,800,000 + $0.0000/disc
AACS Final Content Provider Agreement Basic Content Provider = $500/year or $3K
Volume Content Provider = $15K/year
MKB = $500/order
Content certificate (basic) = $500/order + $0.04/disc
Content certificate (volume) = $500/order +
<200K discs = $7,200/year + $0.0360/disc
<500K discs = $12,000/year + $0.032/disc
<1M discs = $20,160/year + $0.0202/disc
<2M discs = $34,474/year + $0.0172/disc
<5M discs = $70,671/year + $0.0141/disc
<10M discs = $121.554/year + $0.0122/disc
<20M discs = $211,504/year + $0.0106/disc
<30M discs = $291,875/year + $0.0097/disc
<45M discs = $405,707/year + $0.0090/disc
<60M discs = $513,895/year + $0.0086/disc
<80M discs = $654,360/year + $0.0082/disc
<110M discs = $860,483/year + $0.0078/disc
<150M discs = $1,129,579/year + $0.0075/disc
<200M discs = $1,460,923/year + $0.0073/disc
<250M discs = $1,793,283/year + $0.0072/disc
>250M discs = $1,800,000/year + $0.0000/disc
AACS Final Reseller Agreement $5K/year
AACS Online Service Provider Agreement Online Service Provider = $5K/year and
<100K transactions = $2K/year
<1M transactions = $5K/year
unlimited transactions $10K/year +
$0.04/download or stream

 

16.3 What licensing obligations exist when duplicating and distributing content on writable BD discs?
Distributing digital audio, video, text and still images, either electronically or on physical media, often involves important patent, trademark and other intellectual property considerations. When working with Blu-ray the need to enter into and comply with various license agreements differs depending upon the circumstance. For detailed descriptions of these requirements as they pertain to duplicating (recording) and distributing content on writable BD (BD-R/RE) discs see: Hugh Bennett. "Blu-ray Disc Licensing for Small Publishers, Duplicators, and Independent Studios." EMediaLive 26 June 2008.

 

16.4 What licensing obligations exist when replicating and distributing content on prerecorded BD discs?
Distributing digital audio, video, text and still images, either electronically or on physical media, often involves important patent, trademark and other intellectual property considerations. When working with Blu-ray the need to enter into and comply with various license agreements differs depending upon the circumstance. For a detailed description of these requirements as they pertain to replicating and distributing content on prerecorded/pressed BD (BD-ROM) discs see: Hugh Bennett. "The Ins and Outs of Blu-ray Disc Replication and Licensing." EMediaLive 7 Oct. 2008.


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