Re: [rtcweb] ~"I'd love it if patents evaporated...If not now, when"

"Mo Zanaty (mzanaty)" <> Thu, 14 November 2013 22:16 UTC

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From: "Mo Zanaty (mzanaty)" <>
To: John Leslie <>, Silvia Pfeiffer <>
Thread-Topic: [rtcweb] ~"I'd love it if patents evaporated...If not now, when"
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Date: Thu, 14 Nov 2013 22:16:20 +0000
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Subject: Re: [rtcweb] ~"I'd love it if patents evaporated...If not now, when"
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You don¹t have to speculate. Motorola (now Google) sued Microsoft over
H.264 patents. No one intervened, so there is no obligation nor incentive
to do so. However, because this involved standards-essential patents, and
Motorola participated in the standards, it has FRAND obligations for those
SEPs, with a clear precedent for FRAND royalty rates established by MPEG
LA for that standard. The result was Microsoft has to pay half a cent in
royalties per product they ship containing an H.264 codec, but Motorola
must pay $15M for breaching SEP/FRAND obligations (by demanding $4B). If
Nokia sued anyone over H.264, a similar result is likely.

This is what people mean when they say H.264 IPR risk is low. Everyone
that participated in the standard is bound by SEP/FRAND obligations, and
can¹t demand much more than they would get if they were licensors in the
MPEG LA pool. For all the hate MPEG LA gets, here is an example where its
existence actually limits the extent anyone can leverage patents to demand
unreasonable royalties.

VP8 does not yet offer such SEP/FRAND protection. If it infringes any
patent, the patent holder may demand unreasonable royalties (or even no
license terms, in the case of Nokia).


On 11/14/13, 3:53 PM, John Leslie <> wrote:

Silvia Pfeiffer <> wrote:
> On Thu, Nov 14, 2013 at 12:55 AM, John Leslie <> wrote:
>> Basically H.264 has quite a consortium to slap down the likes of
>> Nokia in court should they sue anyone in the consortium. This greatly
>> reduces the chance of Nokia's lawyer suing.
> What makes you think that? I am not aware of a requirement on MPEG-LA
> to get involved in any lawsuit that involves a company suing somebody
> over a patent that is part of the H.264 pool.

   I didn't mean to say the _consortium_ has a legal obligation to get
involved in a lawsuit against one of their members -- but they do have
an incentive to do so.

   In fact, I suspect it's other _members_ of the consortium which
will pay their lawyers to get involved.

   My point was that suing one member of the consortium looks less
attractive when other members are likely to support each other.

> On the contrary: if you get sued over VP8, you will likely find that
> Google has an interest to support you.

   I sincerely hope they would -- but there is nothing to convince Nokia
lawyers not to file suit in the first place.

John Leslie <>
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