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

Dean Willis <> Thu, 12 April 2012 06:50 UTC

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Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2012 01:50:20 -0500
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From: Dean Willis <>
To: "Paul E. Jones" <>
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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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On Thu, Apr 5, 2012 at 1:47 AM, Paul E. Jones <p
> While there may be undisclosed IPR on H.264, I find it hard to believe that
> there would be much, if any, at this point.  Keep in mind that H.264 is
> product of the joint effort of a bunch of people who are experts in the
> field.  I would be suspicious of any company not involved in the
> development
> of H.264 claiming to have IPR, because somebody in the joint committee
> probably owns that IPR.  Sure, there might be something ... something very
> minor.  Perhaps.
Both H.264 and  VP8 are motion-vector codings, right?

A quick search on Google Patents shows about 32,400 existing motion vector
video patents. What do you want to bet some of those apply  to one or the
other? Or both? Or both plus H.263?

Just because they haven't been asserted yet doesn't mean they're not real.
It might mean that the people that own them aren't paying attention. Or
weren't, but have started. Or don't care, but might be willing to sell
their patent to someone who does.

The simple fact is that there are a crapload of patents out there, and
creative reading can get a patent owner fired up enough to start trying to
collect revenue on even a very bad patent -- and with hundreds of thousands
of patents in the area, some of them are likely to be very good. And in
certain venues (the Eastern District of Texas comes to mind), there's a
strong presumption that patents are valid and the courts are known to grant
damages even though a reexamination is pending. And even if the patent is
bogus and you win, you've still spent a lot of money. I'd guess your firm
spends more than my yearly revenue on defending even the lamest individual

So what I'm saying is that it doesn't matter whether you use H.264 or VP8;
you're eventually going to get sued by somebody, and it's going to be
expensive and annoying. Build in a revenue margin to plan for it. But there
is an argument to make that if you use H.264, you know that somebody with
an M in their name is going to be involved SOON unless you fork out cash in
advance, whereas if you use VP8, you can hope to maybe wait longer for the
surprise and can save your money until then.

That said, they both still make me nervous. Can't we just use tin cans and
string? ;-)