Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 26th Apr 2011 11:48 UTC, submitted by Elv13
Multimedia, AV And the fight continues. Only a few months after the desperate move by the MPEG-LA to get anyone - anyone - to submit patents to a possible WebM patent pool, Google and the WebM community have struck back. A whole slew of major companies have formed the WebM Community Cross-License initiative, basically a sort-of Open Invention Network for WebM.
Order by: Score:
Patent retaliation
by lemur2 on Tue 26th Apr 2011 12:14 UTC
lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

OK, supposedly MPEG LA are building up a patent pool of WebM patents which they intend to claim read on WebM, and then (presumably) demand royalty payments from people using WebM.

Google claim that all of the patents related to (and required for) WebM are offered to everybody royalty-free. Google also have stated that they undertook an extensive patent search and analysis in relation to VP8 before Google purchased On2, and as a result of this search Google were very confident about WebM.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/04/25/google_announces_webm_paten...

"From the very beginning, Google has claimed that the format is on solid legal ground. "We have done a pretty thorough analysis of VP8 and On2 Technologies prior to the acquisition and since then, and we are very confident with the technology and that's why we're open sourcing," Google product manager Mike Jazayeri told us."

Now think about the situation of a normal patent lawsuit. Normally, some company will have a product, and some patent holder will approach that company with a claim that the product violates their patent, and demand royalties. If the company refuses, only then the dispute goes to court.

With the MPEG LA patent pool for WebM, this situation is not the case. The patent holders who hold patents in the MPEG LA pool will never have approached Google at any point and tried to negotiate a deal.

Isn't this a clear-cut slam-dunk case of tortious interference?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tortious_interference

"Tortious interference, also known as Intentional interference with contractual relations, in the common law of tort, occurs when a person intentionally damages the plaintiff's contractual or other business relationships."

Isn't the patent holder deliberately trying to interfere with Google's business relations with other companies in relation to WebM?

http://www.webmproject.org/about/supporters/

Aren't patent holders who believe they have a patent which reads on WebM supposed to approach Google first?

No wonder that MPEG LA are apparently under investigation for anti-trust violations.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/04/doj_investgates_mpeg_la_ove...

Reply Score: 6

RE: Patent retaliation
by renox on Tue 26th Apr 2011 13:21 UTC in reply to "Patent retaliation"
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

The patent holders who hold patents in the MPEG LA pool will never have approached Google at any point and tried to negotiate a deal. Isn't this a clear-cut slam-dunk case of tortious interference?


No, it isn't.. Google just lost a lawsuit (*) for using Linux which is claimed to use a patented algorithm, AFAIK the patent troll never tried to contact Linux developpers, yet he won the lawsuit, so I doubt very much that he was legally obliged to do so.

Aren't patent holders who believe they have a patent which reads on WebM supposed to approach Google first?

No they aren't, please show me the law who say that they have to do so..

And 'being under investigation' is very different from 'being convicted of'.

Come on, I despise MPEG LA too, but inventing laws won't help here.

*: Note that I don't believe that the sky is falling for this lawsuit: the patent is weak, so it'll be probably invalidated..

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Patent retaliation
by lemur2 on Tue 26th Apr 2011 23:31 UTC in reply to "RE: Patent retaliation"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"The patent holders who hold patents in the MPEG LA pool will never have approached Google at any point and tried to negotiate a deal. Isn't this a clear-cut slam-dunk case of tortious interference?
No, it isn't.. Google just lost a lawsuit (*) for using Linux which is claimed to use a patented algorithm, AFAIK the patent troll never tried to contact Linux developpers, yet he won the lawsuit, so I doubt very much that he was legally obliged to do so. "

In this case (which was very weak and should have been rejected) the patent holder tried to negotiate with the company (Google) who were distributing the product which was claimed to infringe.

In the case of a company submitting a patent to MPEG LA pool for WebM and MPEG LA going after some user of WebM at no stage did the patent hold try to negotiate with Google (who are the owners and distributors of WebM).

"Aren't patent holders who believe they have a patent which reads on WebM supposed to approach Google first?
No they aren't, please show me the law who say that they have to do so.. And 'being under investigation' is very different from 'being convicted of'. Come on, I despise MPEG LA too, but inventing laws won't help here. "

Annti-trust law is meant to prevent companies/organisations holding a dominant position from seeking to create or maintain a monopoly by interfering with competing products. This law would most assuredly apply in this situation to MPEG LA.

MPEG LA have actually in the past sought an exemption from anti-trust law, and they were given very short shrift by the administration.

Edited 2011-04-26 23:46 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Patent retaliation
by Hiev on Tue 26th Apr 2011 18:04 UTC in reply to "Patent retaliation"
Hiev Member since:
2005-09-27

Do you have any evidence that they didn't approach Google first? and if that is the case is there anything illegal about it?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Patent retaliation
by lemur2 on Tue 26th Apr 2011 23:41 UTC in reply to "RE: Patent retaliation"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Do you have any evidence that they didn't approach Google first? and if that is the case is there anything illegal about it?


Anti-trust law is meant to prevent a dominant product in a market seeking to preclude the entry of a new competitor.

The DoJ is reportedly investigating MPEG LA right now over its attempt to generate a WebM patent pool without negotiating with Google first.

Google OTOH have shown every indication that they would be more than willing to purchase any patents which could read on WebM. Google did buy On2 after all.

So, if a patent holder made a submission to MPEG LA's WebM patent pool, which is clearly set up to try to put a royalty cost on WebM and thereby prevent it from becoming widely used, instead of going to Google and at least trying to make a deal, why would that not be something that the DoJ should scrutinise very intently in their anti-trust investigation?

After all, the patent holder might get a good price from Google, but OTOH MPEG LA's scheme seems explicitly set up try to prevent WebM from competing against H264, and therefore never becoming widely used (and so no money for the patent holder). So why would the patent holder not go to Google where they have a better chance of getting a good price for their patent?

Whenever Microsoft bring a patent lawsuit (say the one against TomTom for example) ... isn't it the case that the very first thing Microsoft said in announcing the lawsuit was something along the lines of "we tried to negotiate with TomTom but they refused"?

Microsoft do this, and say this, in order to avoid allegations of anti-trust behaviour.

Edited 2011-04-26 23:52 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Patent retaliation
by Hiev on Tue 26th Apr 2011 23:53 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Patent retaliation"
Hiev Member since:
2005-09-27

You are not answering what I'm asking, so, here it goes again:

Do you have any evidence that they didn't approach Google first? and if that is the case is there anything illegal about it?

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Patent retaliation
by lemur2 on Wed 27th Apr 2011 02:00 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Patent retaliation"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

You are not answering what I'm asking, so, here it goes again: Do you have any evidence that they didn't approach Google first? and if that is the case is there anything illegal about it?


I don't even have any evidence that there are any patents proposed for the MPEG LA patent pool for WebM. They have not been announced.

I am talking abut a hypothetical situation ... IF there are patents placed by companies in the MPEG LA patent pool for WebM without any negotiation with Google first, THEN there will be a case for anti-trust violation.

This is a hypothetical - since in reality no such patents have yet been announced, how could there possibly be proof that the non-existant owners of such non-existant patents did not approach Google first?

Edited 2011-04-27 02:05 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Patent retaliation
by Hiev on Wed 27th Apr 2011 02:43 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Patent retaliation"
Hiev Member since:
2005-09-27

You speculate to mutch.

Reply Score: 1

v It's getting old...
by mrhasbean on Tue 26th Apr 2011 12:37 UTC
RE: It's getting old...
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 26th Apr 2011 12:51 UTC in reply to "It's getting old..."
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Beats your definition of "nobody is allowed to infringe, copy, or steal - well, except for Apple, of course".

Reply Score: 5

RE: It's getting old...
by ichi on Tue 26th Apr 2011 13:05 UTC in reply to "It's getting old..."
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

You know what trolls do: they stay under bridges and fall over anyone trying to cross them. They do that and pretty much nothing else. They have no actual interest in bridges other than a)that people eventually need to cross over them and b)they can hide below.

I think "patent troll" is not a gratuitous derogatory term but a rather straightforward analogy.

Reply Score: 8

RE: It's getting old...
by dvhh on Tue 26th Apr 2011 14:54 UTC in reply to "It's getting old..."
dvhh Member since:
2006-03-20

I know that it blocked microsoft from releasing the VC-1 codec as a royaltie free codec (or less likely open-source).

Reply Score: 2

Some patents might be legit.
by Adurbe on Tue 26th Apr 2011 13:08 UTC
Adurbe
Member since:
2005-07-06

Some of the patents (on both sides) might be legitimate and of merit. If I had a patent, which I 'invented', then a pool is by far the easiest way to leverage it.

Many individuals, who invested the time and money into the development of a unique patent might not have the money to fight the protracted legal case alone.

My (convoluted) point, is that not all patents are 'stupid patents on double clicking'. Some are based on hard work and innovation from an individual/company. Its just a shame that these discussions always focus on the frivolous.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Some patents might be legit.
by ichi on Tue 26th Apr 2011 13:16 UTC in reply to "Some patents might be legit."
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

Many individuals, who invested the time and money into the development of a unique patent might not have the money to fight the protracted legal case alone.


But you would expect them to at least approach the offender, let them know about their infraction and (maybe) offer a license agreement.

Edited 2011-04-26 13:16 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Some patents might be legit.
by renox on Tue 26th Apr 2011 13:25 UTC in reply to "Some patents might be legit."
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

Depends: here in Europe, we don't allow software patents (well we're supposed not to allow them at least).

So in Europe, all these software patents *are* ilegitimates and have no merit.

Reply Score: 3

JoeBuck Member since:
2006-01-11

Your information is out of date; a number of European countries have granted software patents, and at CeBIT in Germany, products have been seized that allegedly infringe on patents covering MP3, MP4, and digital video, despite the fact that those functions were implemented in software.

Reply Score: 3

Adurbe Member since:
2005-07-06

UK is still on the fence on it. We don’t officially recognise 'software patents', but we have had rulings in support of them, and against.

No judge has yet made the stand either side so precedence hasn’t Truely been set on the validity of the patent itself.

Reply Score: 3

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Your information is out of date; a number of European countries have granted software patents, and at CeBIT in Germany, products have been seized that allegedly infringe on patents covering MP3, MP4, and digital video, despite the fact that those functions were implemented in software.


I wonder what was the result of that scuffle? Because one judge ruled in favour, another against and one more in favour. But I couldn't find what was the result of it...

Reply Score: 2

FFMPEG LA is safe
by zimbatm on Tue 26th Apr 2011 13:20 UTC
zimbatm
Member since:
2005-08-22

FFMPEG doesn't use their technologies and thus can't be sued for them. That is, unless the WebM group has a patent on extortion.

What could happen is a cross-fire where the WebM group sues FFMPEG customers (Microsoft, Apple, ..) and vice-versa, which would hurt everybody excepts the lawyers.

Reply Score: 0

RE: FFMPEG LA is safe
by ichi on Tue 26th Apr 2011 13:44 UTC in reply to "FFMPEG LA is safe"
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

I guess you mean MPEG-LA, not FFMPEG.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: FFMPEG LA is safe
by Adurbe on Tue 26th Apr 2011 23:10 UTC in reply to "RE: FFMPEG LA is safe"
Adurbe Member since:
2005-07-06

his point is correct (if i read it correctly) as many of the codecs are white-room implementations of patented codecs.

if sue one, why not the other (and many linux distros which include in in their products)

edit: yes, i know, money...

Edited 2011-04-26 23:10 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: FFMPEG LA is safe
by Neolander on Tue 26th Apr 2011 15:27 UTC in reply to "FFMPEG LA is safe"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I'm confused... Are you talking about ffmpeg (great multimedia transcoding software) or about the MPEG-LA (large organization whose main role is to accumulate patent from a range of business actors, flagship product of the organization itself being lawsuits) ?

Edited 2011-04-26 15:29 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Disclosure of who benefits
by kaiwai on Tue 26th Apr 2011 14:13 UTC
kaiwai
Member since:
2005-07-06

When it comes to MPEG-LA membership and licensing it would be interesting to know is is benefiting from it more than they give in terms of licensing. Microsoft has already disclosed that although they have some patents in particular areas but they pay more than they receive back from MPEG-LA and I'd say that would pretty much be the case for Apple to. It kind of leaves me wondering that there must be some organisation(s) behind the scenes who are bringing in more cash than what they pay out and if so I wonder who they are. The reason why I wonder who these organisations are is because they would have the most to lose if WebM ever gained traction.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Disclosure of who benefits
by ndrw on Tue 26th Apr 2011 15:09 UTC in reply to "Disclosure of who benefits"
ndrw Member since:
2009-06-30

That would probably be MPEG-LA itself. Plus perhaps a company or two with many patents but few products.

But, that's not the point. The real benefit from joining the pool is not in the collecting the fees but in keeping the competitors out.

Companies like Microsoft or Apple are happy to pay MPEG-LA for that. I can only guess they would prefer paying even more if only that meant making the entry barriers higher.

The last thing they want is competing with thousands of start-ups in the wild. Investors don't like taking chances.

Reply Score: 3

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Just look at who created mp3 format.

Fraunhofer IIS, University of Hannover, AT&T-Bell Labs, Thomson-Brandt, CCETT.

Basically they are companies that specialize in this sort of technology, like On2 Technologies ( the originators of VP8, Theora). Not what I would deem as patent trolls, they made money off of various products that used their codecs as well as licensing them directly to companies. MPEG-LA isn't that bad of an idea in theory: a one stop shop for licensing of standard codecs. But, obviously a codec that requires no licensing at all is even better. Free codecs are a threat to the codec licensing market and all of the companies that sell through it.

Reply Score: 2

Royalty free MPEG-LA
by RichterKuato on Tue 26th Apr 2011 15:03 UTC
RichterKuato
Member since:
2010-05-14

So basically they're setting up a royalty free version of MPEG-LA. Makes me wonder why they didn't do this from the start.

Now we wait for both Apple and Microsoft join the consortium. (Because they don't have any reason not to, right?)

Reply Score: 2

oblivion
by fran on Tue 26th Apr 2011 16:17 UTC
fran
Member since:
2010-08-06

Thom mentioned Oblivion Elder Scrolls 4
Personaly the best game I ever played. Beautiful, Detailed, immense, frightning, hard, long..everything a game should be.
And the soundtrack by Jeremy Soule just brilliant.

https://www.directsong.com/index.php

Difficult to pick just a few but my favorites from the soundtrack is

Watchmens Ease
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQsC5IEXDag

Wings of Kynareth
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yo3e9a7QKqM

Reign of Septims
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3kV1QqQIDM

Cant wait for Skyrim!

*posted in the wrong thread! lol cant change it now

Edited 2011-04-26 16:32 UTC

Reply Score: 1

GoogleWebM Community
by Augury on Tue 26th Apr 2011 16:35 UTC
Augury
Member since:
2010-08-16

A whole slew of major companies didn't:

Adobe
Apple
HTC
Intel
Microsoft
Nokia
Oracle
Sony

Reply Score: 1

RE: GoogleWebM Community
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 26th Apr 2011 16:37 UTC in reply to "GoogleWebM Community"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

A whole slew of major companies didn't:

Adobe
Apple
HTC
Intel
Microsoft
Nokia
Oracle
Sony


Sony and HTC ship Android (which supports WebM), and as such, they would be suing themselves if they would join the MPEG-LA. Adobe has committed itself to supporting VP8 in Flash, so they, too, won't be partaking in MPEG-LA's shenanigans.

Reply Score: 4

Go Google go...
by fithisux on Tue 26th Apr 2011 16:55 UTC
fithisux
Member since:
2006-01-22

I hate to hear that FOSS is not good (especially Linux) because of the bad implementation of proprietary technologies. So this time one such proprietary technology is dead and yes I live without flash the last 14 days on windows xp since Cloud computing webcasts are in WebM. Probably more accelerator drivers will become (standardized???) open under linux/haiku whatever when mpeg stuff becomes an exception. But until them I can enjoy videos without flash, without proprietary without hassle. I read this thread and its "mature corporate style" opinions. I think people defending proprietary are making a bad service to humankind. And if people say that Google is evil I think it is building its momentum on others incompetence and evil doing, so I do not think Google is better but Google makes more sense.

Reply Score: 1

Two questions about this...
by ichi on Wed 27th Apr 2011 07:57 UTC
ichi
Member since:
2007-03-06

1.- Didn't Google/ON2 made a throughout audit of VP8 to verify that there was no patented stuff? (At least regarding patents they didn't own, I'd guess). How comes then they are now requesting third parties to cross-license patents "essential to WebM technologies"?

2.- Is there (or will there be) a list of cross-licensed patents? And what WebM related patents could those companies have anyway?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Two questions about this...
by Carewolf on Wed 27th Apr 2011 08:38 UTC in reply to "Two questions about this..."
Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

1. There are patents on VP8, Google bought the codec with the patents
2. It predates H264, making it prior art anything MPEG LA might throw at it, and making it equally likely that the VP8 patents apply to H264 as the reverse.
3. Software patents in themselves doesn't make any sense. But if you accept their existence, you need to do is go search for things that doesn't make sense and collect them in pools (apparently).

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Two questions about this...
by Lennie on Wed 27th Apr 2011 10:46 UTC in reply to "RE: Two questions about this..."
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

Here is a video which details where VP3 came from, which was donated to the xiph.org and what Ogg Theora is now based on. So I think atleast VP3 should be ok, they obviously added a lot of stuff before they got to VP8.

It also explains a lot of the issues about software patents in this part of the industry.

http://air.mozilla.com/open-video-codec-discussion-at-mozilla/

Edited 2011-04-27 10:46 UTC

Reply Score: 3