DAB Patent Expiry Means Lower Costs

The Philips DAB patent expiry in larger markets spells important news for manufacturers, customers.

The patent which covered the DAB family of standards, typically referred to as the Philips patent pool, expired Jan. 18, 2013. This expiration affects patents in France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K., potentially large target markets for manufacturers.

The expiration is expected to reduce manufacturing costs, resulting in lower-priced receivers appearing on the market. According to WorldDMB, actual savings will depend on the total number of devices shipped by each manufacturer, with the normal range spreading from €2.50 for low-volume manufacturers, to €1.50 for larger manufacturers like Pure.

Now, shipments into countries where the patents have expired are no longer liable for the royalty payment, and with standard retail multipliers, entry-level device prices could drop by about €5. The price barrier to integrating the DAB family of standards into devices will be lower as DAB becomes a free-to-integrate technology.

These DAB patents are the intellectual property of various companies administered by Philips, and their expiration timelines differ by country. For example, Australia, Denmark, The Netherlands saw the original patents expire by mid-August 2012.

Also, the DAB+ royalty for HE-AACv2 (paid to VIA Licensing) is a one-time fee, so if a manufacturer produces an Internet radio that requires HE-AAC that will also cover DAB+.

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