Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 7th Mar 2013 20:47 UTC
Legal "Google and MPEG LA announced today that they have entered into agreements granting Google a license to techniques that may be essential to VP8 and earlier-generation VPx video compression technologies under patents owned by 11 patent holders. The agreements also grant Google the right to sublicense those techniques to any user of VP8, whether the VP8 implementation is by Google or another entity. It further provides for sublicensing those VP8 techniques in one next-generation VPx video codec. As a result of the agreements, MPEG LA will discontinue its effort to form a VP8 patent pool." The word that stood out to me: the auxiliary verb 'may', which has a rather low epistemic modality. To me, this indicates that this is not so much a clear-cut case of VP8 infringing upon patents, but more a precautionary move on Google's part.
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Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Thu 7th Mar 2013 20:53 UTC
Nelson
Member since:
2005-11-29

It is an implicit admission of what people have been saying all along, that it ranges from unlikely to impossible that VP8 doesn't infringe at least on some of the innovations covered by the MPEG LA patent pool.

It was always foolish for some of the VP8 proponents to claim that it wasn't a patent encumbered implementation simply because Google told them so.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Comment by Nelson
by Alfman on Thu 7th Mar 2013 21:03 in reply to "Comment by Nelson"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

I agree, but in any case this seems like a good outcome.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Thu 7th Mar 2013 21:19 in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Generally these royalties are very, very small and the whole point of the MPEG LA is to facilitate their licensing.

I would've been surprised if Google picked this fight. I'm glad this ended well, as all patent disputes should.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Comment by Nelson
by No it isnt on Thu 7th Mar 2013 21:18 in reply to "Comment by Nelson"
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

Depending entirely on what lottery numbers Google and MPEG LA are handed out before a patent lawsuit. Unlikely to impossible? Hardly.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Thu 7th Mar 2013 21:20 in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

You're quite obviously right, given that Google didn't sign an agreeme- Oh wait, oops.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Comment by Nelson
by robmv on Thu 7th Mar 2013 21:39 in reply to "Comment by Nelson"
robmv Member since:
2006-08-12

Or that some VP8 patents now owned by Google are needed by MPEG LA covered technologies, yes On2 technologies had patents too before MPEG4 become so many entrenched.

I only find possible that this is happening because both parts have a lot of power (patent based) or some Google friends members of the MPEG LA group want peace

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Thu 7th Mar 2013 21:42 in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

I thought VP8 was not patent encumbered? Kinda throws that right out of the window.

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE: Comment by Nelson
by Valhalla on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:02 in reply to "Comment by Nelson"
Valhalla Member since:
2006-01-24

Stop equaling granted software patents with innovations, as we've seen countless times in the past these patents are very often being granted without being the least bit innovative.

Obviously VP8 is potentially infringing on other software patents given how broad and widely defined they are by conscious design, same goes for h264/h265 and sadly practically all other software out there.

That does not mean that they are in fact infringing. This has to be decided in court (hopefully by a skilled judge and jury). I have no doubt that under courtroom scrutiny extremely few granted software patents will remain valid.

Still I think this is a wise move by Google, and a great day for the idea of a free open source royalty free web video standard.

With the potential patent threat thwarted we can finally have a standard that runs across all browsers without anyone having to pay a licence fee to implement it, same goes for anyone wanting to start a site serving online video in one form or another.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by jared_wilkes on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:37 in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

After today, it's no longer free. Or at least for Google and the sublicensees. Anyone else is still under legal threat.

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:37 in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Stop equaling granted software patents with innovations, as we've seen countless times in the past these patents are very often being granted without being the least bit innovative.


That's how the system works. You apply for a patent, if it passes some basic scrunity you're granted a patent, and if someone else feels it is invalid, they can ask the relevant Governmental agencies to make a determination in that regard.

Just because you view some of them as frivolous and invalid (and I don't disagree) it does not mean that they are all bad.


Obviously VP8 is potentially infringing on other software patents given how broad and widely defined they are by conscious design, same goes for h264/h265 and sadly practically all other software out there.


Correct. H264 never claimed that they were an unencumbered spec. What they do have is infrastructure in place to license the thousand or so patents that make up the spec. In addition, they are also a central place for future patent holders to be included in the pool.


That does not mean that they are in fact infringing. This has to be decided in court (hopefully by a skilled judge and jury). I have no doubt that under courtroom scrutiny extremely few granted software patents will remain valid.


We hold the same position. Patents are granted by the USPTO, but validated by a Judge or some government panel.


Still I think this is a wise move by Google, and a great day for the idea of a free open source royalty free web video standard.


Of course its a wise move. They avoid going to court. I'd argue it was their only sensible move.


With the potential patent threat thwarted we can finally have a standard that runs across all browsers without anyone having to pay a licence fee to implement it, same goes for anyone wanting to start a site serving online video in one form or another.


Thanks to Google doing what some more sensible people have been advocating all along: Taking a license.

If Google would do this with Android, Thom would run out of patent articles to write about. They need to take a license.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Comment by Nelson
by shmerl on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:03 in reply to "Comment by Nelson"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

it ranges from unlikely to impossible that VP8 doesn't infringe at least on some of the innovations covered by the MPEG LA patent pool.


I don't think so. Looks more like Google paying these trolls to stop spreading FUD (so Apple and MS would have no lame excuses to avoid VPx because of "uncertainty"). Trolls are happy to get the money of course, but this whole thing doesn't prove anything about actual codec and whether it's patent encumbered or not. If Google actually licensed some patents - they should be disclosed in order to evaluate whether they apply or not.

I suspect Google won't disclose anything, because they didn't license any patents. They just paid the trolls so they would bug off. It's kind of good and bad. Good since VP8 can be more widely adopted, and bad since it only encourages further patent racket. I think not feeding the trolls would be a better approach in the long term.

Edited 2013-03-07 22:10 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:38 in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Hey, I'm cool with whatever rationale you think of. If you want to think that Google is paying somebody else money because Google is in a position of leverage, then so be it.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by jared_wilkes on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:40 in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

Someone has trouble with reading: "they have entered into agreements granting Google a license to techniques that may be essential to VP8 and earlier-generation VPx video compression technologies under patents owned by 11 patent holders."

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by jared_wilkes on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:44 in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

Also, Google is risking Google Maps being completely shut down in Germany, on mobile including competing platforms and on the web, because they are unwilling to let Motorola become one of the last Android OEMS (excepting Samsung) to license Microsoft patents... The suggestion that they have a strong case in VP8 vs. MPEGLA but just decided to cave to end the FUD (which has been completely nonexistent since shortly after Google's announcements because VP8 has gone no where, absolutely zero progress on the market place)... well, that's just special. And complete and utter denial.

Reply Parent Score: 2