Re: [rtcweb] Google VP8 Patent Grant for third parties [Was Re:Proposal for H.263 baseline codec]

"Paul E. Jones" <> Thu, 19 April 2012 03:48 UTC

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From: "Paul E. Jones" <>
To: "'Olle E. Johansson'" <>, "'Kevin P. Fleming'" <>
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Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2012 23:48:33 -0400
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Subject: Re: [rtcweb] Google VP8 Patent Grant for third parties [Was Re:Proposal for H.263 baseline codec]
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> 12 apr 2012 kl. 18:09 skrev Kevin P. Fleming:
> > On 04/12/2012 02:21 AM, Olle E. Johansson wrote:
> >
> >> This is really bad news for Open Source. Even if we try to get a way to
> pay for licenses, our business model is far away from understandable for
> most of the syndicates. I tried with the AMR codec once and it stopped at
> initial order quantity. Anything under 10.000 licenses was not up for
> discussion.

Would a patent holder even both with litigation if the patent owner fely
that licensing in quantities of less than 10,000 units is not worth the
money?  Likely not.  Litigation is expensive and patent trolls will only do
it if there is money to be made.  Legitimate companies do not sue unless
there is either profit to be made or (as with the Microsoft/Motorola case)
there is big money at stake related to something bigger than what the legal
case is over.

That said, there is always the risk of getting sued before you can get the
front doors to your small business propped open.  Still, one cannot stop out
of fear of legal action.  Half the companies in Silicon Valley would never
have opened if they concerned themselves too much with patents.

However, if successful, a day will come when it's "time to pay the fiddler
his due."  And when that day comes, there is some comfort in knowing who you
go to in order to license the technology you are using.

> >> G.729 is available on one-by-one basis which both Asterisk and
> FreeSwitch sell to users... I have no insight into how these agreements
> was worked out, but it at least indicates that someone tries to open up.
> >
> > It is my understanding that the licensing arrangements that have been
> made for G.729 are no longer an option for new licensees (not offered by
> the consortium), and to my knowledge such arrangements have never been an
> option for any of the other voice/video codecs that our customers have
> asked us about (including H.264, the AMR family and others).
> And isn't that a shame. The question here for the legal department is
> wether Google's policies in regards to VP8 is enough for companies like
> you to work with it in either binary addons or Open Source code? Does it
> provide enough liability assurance?

Google's policies will not prevent you from getting sued one day when
successful.  What would make me feel better is if Google could indemnify
people.  If they feel they own all of the technology in VP8, they could
indemnify people.  I would be pleasantly surprised if their legal team truly
feels so confident that they own all of the technology in VP8, though.

With H.264, you know where to go license technology once you start to see a
little success.  The IPR holders are known.  I cannot imagine a troll out
there who wouldn't have already filed a lawsuit by now.  (And I'll note
again that VP8 might even have elements that are covered by IPR holders who
also own IPR on H.264 and who may not be so willing to license it for use
with VP8.  I see a definite business risk there that I don't see with AMR or

> I think that question is where we are right now.
> If not, will Google try to offer a solution?

I would not suggest you hold your breath :-)  I applaud Google for taking
the steps it has taken so far, but I do not think there is more they can
offer than what they have already.