Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 30th Apr 2010 21:40 UTC, submitted by Helge
Legal Well, this certainly explains a whole lot. Both Apple and Microsoft have stated that the legality of Theora is highly debatable, and as it turns out, they knew more than we do - most likely courtesy of their close involvement with the MPEG-LA. Responding to an email from Free Software Foundation Europe activist Hugo Roy, Steve Jobs has stated that a patent pool is being assembled to go after Theora. Update: Monty Montgomery of Xiph (Ogg and Theora's parent organisation) has responded on Slashdot: "If Jobs's email is genuine, this is a powerful public gaffe ('All video codecs are covered by patents'). He'd be confirming MPEG's assertion in plain language anyone can understand. It would only strengthen the pushback against software patents and add to Apple's increasing PR mess. Macbooks and iPads may be pretty sweet, but creative individuals don't really like to give their business to jackbooted thugs."
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RE[3]: H264 is the future
by lemur2 on Sat 1st May 2010 08:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: H264 is the future"
Member since:

"VP3 (Theora) of which VP8 is a descendant predates H.264.

If there are any patents surrounding Theora, Google now own them.

On what basis do you assume that? you assume that none of those, inadvertently, on patents held by third parties? the patent world is such a minefield it wouldn't surprise me that if you wrote a 100,000 line application that it doesn't at least step on a couple of patents inadvertently. One only needs to look at the numerous patents Microsoft has tripped over when developing - patents whose language is so broad almost anything you could imagine would get covered by it. I don't blame, therefore, vendors being weary of Theora or any claimed-to-be-patent-free project when there is the risk there that they don't wish to take.

VP3 pre-dates H264, and VP3 is itself patented.

If there is some technology which h2464 also uses, and it turns out that has been patented twice, the the USPTO has made an error as they are not supposed to award two patents for the same methods.

If USPTO has made an error and there are in fact two patents covering the same method ... the older one will prevail.

This gives the advantage to VP3, not H264.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: H264 is the future
by Luis on Sat 1st May 2010 12:29 in reply to "RE[3]: H264 is the future"
Luis Member since:

The problem is that I don't think that what really matters are the original algorithms. It's all about the optimizations. The big difference between the original VP3 and Theora is in the optimizations used, and in those I'm afraid that they've always been behind h.264, working around its patents. I even doubt that VP8 is doing something very different from what h.264 does in the area of optimizations, so Google must be scrutinizing the code and the patents to make sure they don't step on them before they can open source it.

All these codecs are using similar methods. Nobody knows what would a court say about it. Is similar similar enough to make it a effectual infringement? Or should the patent only cover the very specific way of implementing an optimization and leave any other similar method (AKA workaround) uncovered by the patent?

But as the first poster in the thread suggested, if anyone dares to open that box gracefully handed by Pandora, they might find themselves in a very big trouble too. I also agree with some other poster that this war, if started, could show what a big mess software patents are and it would probably mean the end of them, for good. So I think that either way (whether they decide to go after Theora or not), MPEG-LA is doomed to lose here (EXCEPT if they succeed in their tactic of scaring people with FUD and never starting an open war. That's their only chance and they'll hold to it as long as they can).

Reply Parent Score: 4