Re: [rtcweb] Finishing up the Video Codec document, MTI (again, still, sorry)

Silvia Pfeiffer <silviapfeiffer1@gmail.com> Thu, 04 December 2014 05:17 UTC

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From: Silvia Pfeiffer <silviapfeiffer1@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2014 16:16:43 +1100
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To: Andrew Allen <aallen@blackberry.com>
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Subject: Re: [rtcweb] Finishing up the Video Codec document, MTI (again, still, sorry)
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Indeed, that's why I said point 1. in David's list doesn't make sense,
since he's talking about a small company getting sued by Nokia.
S.

On Thu, Dec 4, 2014 at 12:42 PM, Andrew Allen <aallen@blackberry.com> wrote:

>   Silvia
>
>  It  is not usually the small companies that get sued in patent cases.
> Its companies with assets and significant revenues that get the lawsuits.
>
>  Nobody sues the  penniless! - thats like suing the homeless!
>
>  Andrew
>
>  Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone.
>    *From: *Silvia Pfeiffer
> *Sent: *Wednesday, December 3, 2014 19:28
> *To: *David Singer
> *Cc: *rtcweb@ietf.org
> *Subject: *Re: [rtcweb] Finishing up the Video Codec document, MTI
> (again, still, sorry)
>
>  On Thu, Dec 4, 2014 at 5:33 AM, David Singer <singer@apple.com> wrote:
> > As I understand it, the recent face to face meeting decided to draft the
> requirement that WebRTC browsers be required to implement both VP8 and
> H.264, and get feedback on this, on the list.
> >
> > This is some feedback.
> >
> >
> >
> > I’d like to point out that this could easily place companies in an
> impossible position.
> >
> > Consider: it is not uncommon for IPR owners to grant a license (often
> free) only to ‘conforming implementations’. (A common rationale is that
> they want to use their IPR to bring convergence and interoperability to the
> industry).  Let’s hypothesize that this happens, now or in future, from
> Company X, for some IPR in the WebRTC specifications.
> >
> > Consider also: we have an “unwilling to license” statement from Nokia on
> VP8, on the formal record (and including a long list of patents).
> >
> > Consider finally: a small company for whom WebRTC is important.
> >
> >
> >
> > Let’s look at the choices:
> >
> > 1.  Follow the mandate, implement VP8, and risk a ruinous lawsuit from
> Nokia.
> >
> > 2.  Reject the mandate, do not implement VP8, and be formally therefore
> not conformant and therefore not in receipt of a license from company X;
> risk a ruinous lawsuit from X.
> >
> > 3.  Do not implement WebRTC, and risk a ruinous loss of relevance.
>
>
> I don't see the risk of 1. having changed because of the IETF's
> statement. Plenty of small companies are already doing 1. and have had
> to risk getting sued by Nokia at this point in time already. In fact,
> it's a risk that small companies always have to deal with since there
> is so much patented technology around that you invariable will step on
> something. I doubt very much that the IETF's decision has any impact
> on small business' risk in that space at all.
>
>
> > I do not think that the IETF should be placing anyone into the position
> of having three extremely unpalatable choices.
>
> For a small company in the WebRTC space, 3. is a non-choice. 2. Is
> more of a business decision than an IP decision - which market are you
> trying to address? Are you trying to be interoperable with (current)
> browsers - then implement VP8. Are you trying to be interoperable with
> legacy devices - then implement H.264 (and probably even H.263).
>
> If you are trying to argue for a large company, the situation changes.
> However, as a large company, you tend to have an existing portfolio of
> patents. You're already playing the game of patents. As long as your
> hypothetical "IPR owners to grant a license only to ‘conforming
> implementations’" doesn't happen, you are free to choose 2. and avoid
> Nokia.
>
> As for the threat in your option 2. - I can only see Google with IPR
> around VP8. Now, Google's IPR statement on WebM codecs, which includes
> VP8 and VP9 currently states: "Google hereby grants to you a
> perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free,
> irrevocable (except as stated in this section) patent license"
> http://www.webmproject.org/license/additional/
> The word "perpetual" implies (to my non-lawyer eyes) that they can't
> suddenly change this to mean "only if you are conformant to the
> standard". So you can't be referring to such a risk associated with
> VP8 being created by Google. I don't know which other company you
> would want to be afraid of for your hypothetical threat in 2. Could
> you clarify?
>
>
> Best Regards,
> Silvia.
>
>
> > (Yes, I am aware that #2 is ‘unlikely’, but one day someone will decide
> that the “only to conformant implementations” clause needs to be real and
> enforced, and will do this; our hypothetical small company might prefer not
> to be the example case.)
> >
> > (I use a small company as the example, because for them the risk is
> bankruptcy, but of course no-one likes to step into the path of trouble
> even if they have the resources to weather it.)
> >
> > Dave Singer
> >
> > singer@mac.com
> >
> > David Singer
> > Manager, Software Standards, Apple Inc.
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > rtcweb mailing list
> > rtcweb@ietf.org
> > https://www.ietf.org/mailman/listinfo/rtcweb
>
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