Patent protection plays an important role in the tech sector [Letter]

David Balto's recent commentary on patent protection is another in a series of pieces making baseless attacks against MPEG LA ("Patent pool abuse deserves scrutiny," Jan. 7).

MPEG LA's record of service in response to the market's need for efficient access to patents owned by multiple patent owners is exemplary and transparent. Our MPEG-2 license is regarded as the premier and most successful of pool licenses.

Mr. Balto's unsupported innuendo that it stifles competition and raise prices is out of line with the facts. It ignores the unprecedented role that the MPEG-2 license, accepted by some 2,000 licensees worldwide, has played in product generation, cost predictability and litigation reduction.

By Mr. Balto's own measure, it has "benefit[ed] the market and innovation by making it easier to include a technology in new products" to a degree never before achieved.

In criticizing MPEG-2 patent owners for enforcing patents against those who ignore their responsibilities, Mr. Balto conveniently forgets that by doing so patent owners also defend the vast majority of companies who compete fairly. Would Mr. Balto be so forgiving if someone stole from him?

Additionally, MPEG LA operates in compliance with all competition laws. We are not aware that MPEG LA is under investigation by any agency.

We do not begrudge Mr. Balto the right to have an opinion, but he wouldn't have this one if he used accurate information. His disregard for the truth is harmful to more than MPEG LA. It is harmful to the marketplace.

Lawrence Horn, Bethesda

The writer is president and CEO of MPEG LA.

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