Digital TV switch may be gamed by patent jerks


We’ve covered the impending digital TV transition here much, but there’s a new twist that could make it more expensive than it should be to make the change. A small company called Rembrandt, Inc. is flexing its patent muscle by suing 14 companies, including the parent companies of many networks that will broadcast the digital TV signals.

The American Antitrust Institute is asking the government to ignore Rembrandt’s patents, as it would raise the price of digital TVs for consumers, further raising a hurdle many see in the way of digital TV.

Here’s the thing that sucks: Rembrandt didn’t invent digital TV. It didn’t invent anything, really. Rembrandt is a patent company, they buy patents and then sue the pants off of anyone they think might be violating one. This type of business model is vampiric, yet legal. We’re hoping the government sides with the AAI against Rembrandt.