Don't you just love the holiday season? It's that time of year for giving, reflection, thoughtfulness, and, oh yeah…new stuff! Well, feast your eyes on our comprehensive, gear-packed ETS-LDI New Product Guide. It's crammed full of gear that debuted during the past year and, in most cases, at the ETS-LDI show in Las Vegas. You can also check out additional coverage of the tradeshow in the FOH section of the New Product Guide.

Gear certainly wasn't the only news coming out of ETS-LDI this year. In a move that underscores the controversy that's been brewing in the world of LEDs, over 40 manufacturers met during ETS-LDI to discuss the growing concern of the seemingly never-ending stream of patents being secured by Color Kinetics.

Words such as “blackmail,” “outrage,” and “stifling” are being used to describe CK by members of the industry who feel they have a real bully on their hands. These LED manufacturers see CK as not only taking a monopolistic approach, but also applying for and holding patents that should never be approved by the patent office because of the existence of prior art.

CK doesn't seem too rattled about the meeting, calling these “baseless allegations” that disregard the company's open OEM/licensing program — a program that offers use of the company's patented technology for a price. Those opposing CK feel the industry shouldn't have to “pay to play,” since the technology has been around for decades and, certainly, prior to the existence of CK. Ellen Lampert-Gréaux covers the full story on the meeting and CK's official response in our FOH section.

Knowing what many manufacturers think and where they stand on these issues, what does the end user think? How does this affect the designers, programmers, technicians, sales and marketing pros, etc., who just want the best gear available? Is this good for the industry? Who is right here, and is it that simple? Let us know what you think. Email me with your thoughts, and we'll share some viewpoints next month: msandberg-dierson@primediabusiness.com.

In the meantime, try not to obsess too much about LEDs, and enjoy our New York-focused issue, just in time for Gotham to freeze over. (Baby, it's cold outside!)