EU Says Yes to DVD Manufacturers' Patent Pool

Hitachi, Matsushita Electric Industrial, Mitsubishi Electric, Time Warner and Toshiba have agreed to contribute their DVD patents to a single nonexclusive license program to be administered by Toshiba, the Commission said in a statement. This patent pool would help promote technical and economic progress by allowing quick and efficient introduction of the DVD technology, the Commission said.

The firms notified the Commission about the agreement in May 1999 to allow the EU executive body to consider its implications for competition in Europe.

Competition officials concluded that the agreement doesn't contain "unnecessary or excessive" restrictions on competition. In addition to the companies mentioned above, DVD technology was also developed by Sony, Japan's Victor Co, Philips Electronics, Pioneer and France's Thomson. The French company is the only one not to have agreed to pool patents.

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