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

Jean-Marc Valin <> Thu, 05 April 2012 15:10 UTC

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Date: Thu, 05 Apr 2012 11:10:20 -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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On 05/04/12 02:47 AM, Paul E. Jones wrote:
> I know, but the reluctance to do so means that Google knows that there *may
> be* IPR on VP8.  This is just the facts of life.  I believe it's extremely
> important that people know and understand that nobody knows the IPR
> situation with VP8.  If they did, they would offer indemnity, because there
> is nothing to worry about, but nobody can.

Personally, I would be reluctant to indemnify anyone over IPR in a paper
clip. This is the sad state of the patent system and it applies to every
piece of technology.

> Indeed, but I have a significantly higher level of confidence that I can
> identify all of the legitimate companies with IPR on H.264, whereas I
> haven't a clue where to start (outside of Google) for VP8. 

Obviously, that makes H.264 so much safer, right?

> If I owned IPR on VP8 (which I don't personally; can't speak for my
> employer), I certainly would not tell you and I would not join a patent
> pool, either.  I would wait until you adopt VP8, build it into software and
> hardware products, have it massively deployed, and then I'd come along and
> collect my royalties.  There is absolutely no financial incentive for an IPR
> holder to join a patent pool.

I assume this is why we've seen all these lawsuits against Google,
Microsoft, Cisco, Apple... over their use of Vorbis and Speex, right?
Seriously, I can count at least 10 free AV codecs and none of them have
had any patent lawsuits that I'm aware of.

> H.264, on the other hand, is different.  H.264 was developed jointly by
> video coding experts in ISO and ITU.  As an part of that participation, they
> are requested to disclose IPR.  And, respectable companies will disclose
> their IPR.   Every company participating in that work has a vested interest
> in the success of H.264.  Some are looking for royalties and some are
> looking for the technology to enable their products.  Thus, the formation of
> the patent pool is in the best interest of all involved so that people will
> adopt the technology.  While there are those not in the pool, they have
> submitted IPR statements to the ITU.

The best interest of a H.264 patent owner is to avoid having to
disclose, wait for adoption, and then be free to ask for a lot more than
what they would get from the patent pool. This is why I consider H.264
to be a higher risk than VP8. The current Motorola lawsuit confirms this.