FCC Asks for Comment on Petition By Consumer Interest Group

CUT FATT wants to enlist commission in stopping price gouging by DTV patent holders

The FCC has asked for comment on a petition by consumer interest group CUT FATT (The Coalition United to Terminate Financial Abuses of the Television Transition) to enlist the FCC in stopping what its said was potential price gouging by DTV patent holders.

"On behalf of digital TV consumers across the United States, CUT FATT applauds the action today by the FCC," said CUT FATT spokesman Amos Snead. "CUT FATT asked the FCC to hold these abusive patent holders accountable to stem the overcharging of consumers and today's FCC action is the first step towards providing relief for millions of Americans."

CUT FATT wants the FCC to insure that royalties to holders of patents "essential" to DTV sets be kept in line with comparable international royalties, and to adopt rules encouraging patent holders to form a patent pool to prevent gouging by individual patent holders.

The commission has set a comment deadline on the petition of April 27, with replies due May 27.

The issue of the affect of DTV patents on set pricing has heated up of late, with set maker Vizio complaining to the FCC this week that HDTV set maker Funai (Sylvania, Philips), which holds some DTV patents, is charging an extortionate price for one key patent.

Vizio has asked the FCC to step in as well, a move CUT FATT supports.