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January 5, 2009

Cutting Farts

Whining has become the American way. U.S. car makers, uncompetitive for over 30 years, fly to Washington in private jets to beg for spare change - just enough to fill their golden parachutes before bankruptcy. High-tech computer companies spend hundreds of millions to whine at Congress because of highfalutin inventors wanting to enforce the patent laws. Now a digital TV lobby has sprouted, CUTFATT, to whine about loafing consumers paying a patent tax.

The Washington Post:

A consumer advocacy group... asks the FCC to revise its rules for digital television patent licenses, arguing that TV manufacturers are charged too much to use the technology, which in turn causes prices for digital TV sets to balloon.

Need to put those TV sets on a diet.

U.S. television buyers pay about $30 more per digital set than consumers in other countries, according to an ad hoc group called the Coalition United to Terminate Financial Abuses of the Television Transition, or CUTFATT. That's because electronics makers are being overcharged to use the intellectual property for digital tuners and other parts in TVs and converter boxes, the coalition said, and that price is passed on to the consumers.

"The costs hit the poorest Americans the hardest and place hugely disproportionate burdens on Americans that rely on free over-the-air broadcasting to watch television," the coalition said in its petition.

They phrase it that way because claiming that "slackards deserve to loaf on their fat asses in front of the TV" doesn't tug at the heartstrings. Unless you are fat-assed slackard. Which, come to think of it, approaches the 21st century American norm.

The coalition wants the FCC to require patent holders who charge high fees to prove that their license fees are reasonable.

Apparently CUTFATT hasn't been watching enough Court TV. In America, we have thing called "rule of law." No such law, no can do. Welcome to America.

CUTFATT has asked the FCC to adopt a "patent-pool" system such as the ones in Europe and Asia, which allow TV manufacturers to pay a flat rate of about $1 per set for the rights to all the necessary patents. In the United States, the group said, manufacturers are charged $20 to $30 for the needed licenses.

Europe and Asia have adopted different standards for the digital technology.

Is this one of those instances where the ATSC adopted the HDTV standard without being cognizant of patents? Or adopted an inferior digital TV technology? I don't know. New Year's resolution: must stop watching so much Court TV.

Kevin Martin, FCC honcho, reported that at least 16 groups license digital TV patents, on behalf of companies including GE, Hitachi, Sharp, Samsung, LG Electronics, and Alcatel Lucent. In other words, TV makers.

[Martin] said the commission was aware of issues regarding access to patent rights and will take "appropriate action if a future problem is brought to its attention."

Posted by Patent Hawk at January 5, 2009 6:35 PM | Patents In Business

Comments

What a bunch of BS
This year the prices of HDTV LCDs have really fallen off the cliff
I just bought a second 46 inch Toshiba for 999$
If you don;t mind offbrand Walmart junk then you could get 42 inch for 599$ on Black Friday
or 32 inch for 399$
The rest of the TV watching expense is what Comcast or Verizon charge you for either cable TV or FIOS
But this is another story having nothing to do with patents

Posted by: angry dude at January 6, 2009 8:17 AM