Linked by jrincayc on Fri 15th Jul 2011 17:14 UTC
Legal Patent term calculation is complicated in the US because there are essentially two different systems and quite a few corner cases. Even with a list of patents, it can be tricky to determine when the patents are all expired. Since I am a computer programmer (and not a lawyer), I created a program to try and automate this. This paper discusses how patent term calculation works, and some results from a combination of hand and automatic term calculation for MP3, MPEG-2 and H.264.
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RE[2]: Comment by static666
by lemur2 on Sat 16th Jul 2011 11:29 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by static666"
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"I am not really that concerned since we have Vorbis, Speex, Theora, VP8 and others which come very close and in many cases surpass the patented offerings.

What makes you think that these formats are not covered by patents? Are you aware that the patent claims on JPEG only surfaced after the format had been in use for over fifteen years?

Some of these formats are indeed covered by patents. Google owns the patents.

Everybody worldwide has a perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free zero cost license to use these fine replacement technologies.

As for possible patents held by other parties:

(1) For Vorbis and Theora, people have been screeching warnings for many years about possible patents held by other parties. None have come to light.

(2) As for VP8, apart from the patents owned now by Google ... Google did a thorough patent search before the purchased On2 and hence the patents for VP8, and they found no other patents which apply.

Today, when The Reg asked if VP8 was vulnerable to patent attack, Google product manager Mike Jazayeri indicated this isn't a big concern for the company.

"We have done a pretty through 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," he said.

It was only because Google were very confident about the patent coverage of VP8 that they even bought the On2 company in the first place. It should also be pointed out that before Google bought On2, no-one had sued On2 over VP8 patents then, either.

MPEG LA made a call for other parties to submit patents they believe read on VP8
"initial submissions should be made by March 18, 2011"

This was a very risky thing to do, given the MPEG LA monopoly over H.264, because any party with an obscure patent that did read on VP8, one somehow missed by Google's patent lawyers' allegedly thorough search, should of course negotiate with Google first. I think MPEG LA are now under anti-trust investigation over this call.

Edited 2011-07-16 11:38 UTC

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