Disney inks licensing deal with Kudelski Group, accessing 3,000-plus OTT patents

The Walt Disney Company is continuing to push forward a video strategy that increasingly looks like pure OTT, signing a multiyear patent licensing agreement with the Kudelski Group. The deal will give Disney access--with certain limitations, of course--to a portfolio that includes more than 3,000 streaming-related patents and more than 4,500 patents worldwide.

Terms of the agreement were not released, nor is it known which patents are being licensed to Disney.

To put the deal in perspective, consider this: Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX), that pioneer in all things SVOD, put together a patent licensing deal in January with Kudelski-owned Nagra after years of litigation over certain patents, even though Netflix had prevailed in one lawsuit that was filed in the Netherlands after Netflix launched there in 2013.

Further, Disney-owned ABC Television Group announced a deal with Imagine Communications earlier this month that will see much of its facilities-based broadcast infrastructure shift to a cloud environment. While that deal currently does not directly tie its broadcast operations to its OTT offerings such as Watch ABC, the infrastructure strategy could make doing so much easier in the future.

Kudelski's SVP of Intellectual Property and Innovation, Joe Chernesky, said in the release that the agreement with Disney increases the relevance of its patent portfolio. "The Kudelski Group continues to invest heavily in developing technology and intellectual property that help enable industry leaders like The Walt Disney Company to deliver their popular, world-class video and entertainment platforms to the market through streaming video properties, such as ESPN.com and ABC.com," Chernesky said.

Intellectual property continues to be a hot property in the online video world. In mid-April, Kudelski furthered its patent strategy by entering into a cross-license agreement with Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), which holds a massive 55,000-patent portfolio. Google, of course, has been in the patent acquisition race for some time, purchasing, for example, Motorola Mobility in 2011 in a move primarily to get hold of its technology patents (and protect its budding Android initiative) after Google lost out on the coveted Nortel patent portfolio sale in 2011 to Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Blackberry (NASDAQ:BBRY).

Nagra, meantime, recently expanded a partnership with Dish Network--parent of virtual MVPD Sling TV--that will include ad insertion and audience measurement features in its TV Everywhere offering.

For more:
- see the release

Related articles:
Imagine partners with Disney/ABC, Verizon and HP to fill in puzzle pieces of IP video ecosystem
Dish expands Nagra partnership to include TVE ad insertion, audience measurement
Netflix, Kudelski Group hug it out on patent impasse
Apple, Ericsson, RIM and others win Nortel patents for $4.5B
Report: Rockstar's patents will start expiring in 2017
Charter partners with Arris, buys cloud interface vendor ActiveVideo for $135M

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