A manufacturer’s viewpoint – Pure
There has been much talk and quite some anticipation of the imminent expiry of various patents related to the DAB family of products. The patents generally referred to as the Philips patents, are in fact the intellectual property of various companies within a pool which is administered by Philips. The patent pool provides a one-stop shop to get all the licenses needed by the patent owners for the DAB technology – such as the layer 2 audio decoder and the channel decoder including synchronisation, time and frequency deinterleaving.
With the last “original” DAB patent expiring at different times in different countries, the picture is quite complicated. For example, did you know that by mid-August 2012, the original patent had already expired in Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands and a few other countries? But the big news for manufacturers is the expiry on 18 January 2013 of the last patent in some of the largest potential DAB markets – France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.
So what will this mean for manufacturers and consumers?
Put simply, lower costs and potentially lower prices. The actual saving depends on the total number of DAB devices shipped by each manufacturer, with the normal range spreading from €2.50 for low-volume manufacturers, down to €1.50 for large manufacturers like ourselves. From 18 January, any shipments into countries where the patents have expired are no longer liable for the royalty payment. With standard retail multipliers it could mean that the price of entry-level DAB radios could be reduced by around €5.
If you’re reading this in the UK though, don’t get overly excited. The planned UK Digital Tick mark mandates DAB+ support in all accredited products, and that adds Us$0.98 back onto the cost price of many products. so one door opens, and another door closes…
Director of Marketing, Pure