Re: [rtcweb] VP8 IPR agreement announced.

Stephan Wenger <> Sat, 09 March 2013 23:08 UTC

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From: Stephan Wenger <>
To: Rob Glidden <>, Harald Alvestrand <>
Thread-Topic: [rtcweb] VP8 IPR agreement announced.
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Date: Sat, 09 Mar 2013 23:07:52 +0000
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Subject: Re: [rtcweb] VP8 IPR agreement announced.
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Hi Rob,
Please see inline.

From: Rob Glidden <<>>
Date: Saturday, 9 March, 2013 12:21
To: Harald Alvestrand <<>>
Cc: "<>" <<>>
Subject: Re: [rtcweb] VP8 IPR agreement announced.

Interesting.  Potential licensees will be aided by the provision of a clear list of the portfolio patents, said the 1997 US Department of Justice review letter of MPEG LA.

AFAIK, neither a patent list nor a list of potential pool licensors were ever published.  What is known is that there were originally 12 parties which each submitted at least one patent (which was found essential) into a possible future pool, and 11 parties (which may or may not be related to the original 12 parties) decided, apparently with MPEG-LA's help, to furnish a sublicenseable license to google (but not to the world).  So we have a closed group of 11 licensors, and a single licensee, who came to an agreement using a facilitator which also happens to administers pools.  To what extent that transaction qualifies as a pooling arrangement from an antitrust law viewpoint surely has been looked at carefully by the parties in question.  Apparently, they came to the conclusion that they do not need to name the licensors, nor the patents in question.  Otherwise, I guess we would know by now.

ISO/MPEG IPR rules are clear that proposers must ask for, and rights holders must provide, patent statements for a proposal to proceed.

Huh?  Is that something special for this MPEG subgroup?  If yes, would there be a doc you can share explaining such procedures?

My understanding is that ISO/IEC patent matters are generally dealt with under the joint ITU/ISO/IEC patent policy, which requires in practice declarations with RAND terms towards the end of the process (before final approval of the standard, but after it is clear that the patent claim reads on the future standard).  Chairs are also under the obligation to request disclosure during each meeting, but (AFAIK) there are almost never replies to these calls.  When participating in a meeting, I usually to not reply, because I'm not quite sure that a patent claim reads on the final standard before that standard is reasonable frozen.

I know that the video coding joint teams (JVT, JCT-VC, JCT-3V) have additionally adopted a policy requiring in practice some form of RAND language in each contribution.

As some here know, I do not participate in this MPEG effort, so I really don't know.


On 3/9/2013 2:08 AM, Harald Alvestrand wrote:
On 03/08/2013 09:14 PM, Stephan Wenger wrote:
Hi Serge,

This is a great development for VP8.  Congratulations.  I'm sure it took a few cycles and dollars to get something like this arranged.  I wish your PR would have come out a bit earlier, but licensing discussions do take timeā€¦  So better now than never.

I want to ask two more pieces of information that would allow me to put this announcement into context.

First, who are those 11 rightholders?  I'm sure you agree that, in order to make a meaningful risk assessment, that information is needed.

Stephan, at the moment, we have no agreement with the rightsholders that permits us to disclose their names. We're discussing that topic with them, but we will not name them without an agreement to do so.

Of course, the rightsholders are free to disclose themselves.

Second, the link provided to "preview" the possible sublicensing terms ( lists a bunch of company statements that vary widely among the rightholders listed there, which do not include google.  It would be great if you could provide more specific information as early as possible, especially with respect to the essential claims definition and the reciprocity conditions.  That does not have to be final legal text, but should be a clear indication of your business intentions.  To me, term-sheet level is OK.

That link was a bit weird - the real W3C definition of "royalty-free" is - I think the intent of the link was that if you don't find any of the RF terms listed on that page objectionable, you'll not find the Google RF terms objectionable either.

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