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CUT FATT Site Takes Testimony To FCC

3/19/2009 01:44:00 PM Eastern

Washington — The Coalition United to Terminate Financial Abuses of the Television Transition (CUT FATT) has updated its Web site to make it easier for consumers to express any concerns they may have to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over the alleged price gouging practices of certain ATSC-patent holders against certain manufacturers of value-priced TV products.

The www.cutfatt.org Web site has added a link to a template that consumers can use to express their concerns to the FCC in an email.

The FCC recently issued a public notice seeking comment on CUT FATT’s Petition for Rulemaking and Request for Declaratory Ruling filed on Jan. 2. The CUT FATT Petition urges the FCC to take immediate action “to protect consumers against uncontrolled price gouging by DTV patent holders. The FCC’s action is an important first step toward providing relief for millions of Americans.”

Consumers have until April 27 to communicate their feelings on the matter to the FCC. Those siding with the CUT FATT position can use the template at www.CUTFATT.org/write to expedite the process, said the group.

Among the companies that helped organize the CUT FATT group are Vizio and Westinghouse, which have been noted for running aggressively priced promotions on flat-panel TV products and other CE devices.

A wide range of companies hold patents on certain technologies used in the ATSC digital TV broadcasting system.

The CUT FATT members have said that some of these license holders may be seeking to impose onerous patent licensing prices and terms on some opening price point rivals to keep prices higher than they need to be.

“When the FCC adopted the ATSC digital television standard, it promised to protect consumers from unreasonable and discriminatory patent fees,” stated Amos Snead, CUT FATT spokesperson. “CUT FATT applauds the FCC for scrutinizing the demands of patent holders who charge American consumers far more than consumers pay in other countries. Now it is time for American consumers to speak up, and cutfatt.org makes it easy for them to do so.”

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