by Mike Masnick
Thu, Apr 17th 2008 6:46pm
Back in February we wrote about a patent holding firm called Rembrandt (a nod, I'm sure, to the book "Rembrandts in the Attic," which many say kicked off this decade's patent problems) that was suing basically everyone in the TV business, claiming to hold patents on digital television. This was problematic for a few reasons. First, since the FCC is mandating that everyone switch to fully digital TV systems by next year, broadcasters have little choice but to offer digital TV. Second, Rembrandt bought the patent from AT&T who had already promised to license it under RAND (reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms which Rembrandt is ignoring. Since the FTC recently smacked down another patent holder for doing the same thing, an advocacy group is now appealing to the FTC to smack down Rembrandt as well, claiming that the company is "violating antitrust and fair competition laws by abusing the monopoly provided by its patent" in order to collect "a massive tax... on the transition to digital TV." Indeed.
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