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.
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Patent retaliation
by lemur2 on Tue 26th Apr 2011 12:14 UTC
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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.

"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?

"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?

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.

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