First Royalty-Free IP Pool Enables DOCSIS Rollout
Louisville, Colorado, July 23, 1998—Cable Television Laboratories Inc.(CableLabs®)announced today the formation of a royalty-free pool for intellectual property rights essential for implementation of the Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) standard.
3Com, Bay Networks, Broadcom, and General Instrument (GI), vendors that helped draft key portions of the DOCSIS specification, are the first companies to join. With these companies as members, the pool contains the basis for enabling new networking standards for the cable industry.
DOCSIS defines interface requirements for cable modems involved in high-speed data distribution over a cable television network. The pool includes only intellectual property that is essential to the DOCSIS interface standard and does not include the technology or the intellectual property each company might choose to implement the standard.
By entering the pool, a company contributes to the pool a non-exclusive license for any of its intellectual property essential to the DOCSIS standard and receives a license from the pool for all of the intellectual property contributed by other signatories. Any company desiring to make equipment compliant with the DOCSIS standard may join the pool, and thus have access to the intellectual property in the pool, in return for contributing the intellectual property it has (if any) relating to the DOCSIS standard.
While other companies have created royalty-free pools for intellectual property in a standard protocol they have developed, such as Intel with the USB interface, CableLabs believes that this is the first instance of a broad-based royalty-free pool.
"This is a tremendous step for the cable industry and the DOCSIS process," said Dr. Richard R. Green, CableLabs President and CEO. "CableLabs is confident that the pool will speed up deployment of interoperable DOCSIS modems. While it's taken us many months to get this in place, the timing is critical now that the industry is ready to begin wide-scale deployment."
"This is a great industry achievement, to see a new broad-based industry standard become a reality less than three years from when the first modem was deployed in a cable television system" said Brian L. Roberts, president of Comcast Corporation and a member of the CableLabs Board of Directors.
"As an early contributor to the DOCSIS standard and process, we believe that this level of cooperation among vendors bodes well for systems interoperability and consumer choice on the retail shelf," said Levent Gun, vice president and general manager of 3Com's Cable Access group. "This announcement underscores our commitment to interoperability and standards among progressive technology firms."
"Bay Networks has been a strong supporter of DOCSIS and a major contributor to the royalty-free pool because we recognize the need to speed the mass adoption of cable modem technology," says Karl May, vice president and general manager of Bay Networks Broadband Technology Division. "We believe the contribution of our experience over the past ten years will directly impact the success of this industry."
"Broadcom has been a vigorous and active supporter of this industry-standard, open specification since its inception," said Dr. Henry T. Nicholas, III, president and CEO of Broadcom. "This standard will enable the cable television industry to be the first provider of ubiquitous, low-cost broadband access to the consumer."
""GI has contributed substantial intellectual property to the DOCSIS process, " said Thomas J. Lynch, General Manager, GI's Satellite Data Network Systems group. "We are pleased that the result will be an interoperable standard without burdensome royalties. We believe that this will help the market for DOCSIS cable modems grow rapidly."
About CableLabs: Cable Television Laboratories (www.cablelabs.com) was founded in 1988 by members of the cable television industry. A non-profit research and development consortium, CableLabs delivers innovations that enable cable operators to be the providers of choice in their markets. Cable operators from around the world are members. CableLabs maintains web sites at www.cablelabs.com; www.packetcable.com; www.cablemodem.com; www.cablenet.org, and www.opencable.com.
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