Legal dispute could increase cost of digital TV – SiliconValley.com
At the core of the AAI’s complaint is that Rembrandt reneged on a commitment AT&T made when it owned the patent. AT&T was a member of an industry group that agreed on a digital television standard in 1995. The FCC then mandated that standard for all digital broadcasters the following year, meaning that the networks can’t use other technologies.
AT&T pledged to license its patent to anyone who asked at a “reasonable and nondiscriminatory rate.” Rembrandt has said in court filings that it isn’t bound by that commitment.
By getting the patent after it became part of a technology standard and then demanding exorbitant fees, Rembrandt is illegally abusing its monopoly, the AAI said.
The FTC recently cracked down on similar practices, what lawyers call “patent ambushes.” In January, it blocked Negotiated Data Solutions LLC, based in Chicago, from seeking higher royalties on patents related to the ethernet computer networking technology.