Re: [rtcweb] Proposal for H.263 baseline codec

Marshall Eubanks <marshall.eubanks@gmail.com> Mon, 02 April 2012 12:43 UTC

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Date: Mon, 2 Apr 2012 08:43:41 -0400
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From: Marshall Eubanks <marshall.eubanks@gmail.com>
To: "Paul E. Jones" <paulej@packetizer.com>
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Subject: Re: [rtcweb] Proposal for H.263 baseline codec
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On Mon, Apr 2, 2012 at 3:16 AM, Paul E. Jones <paulej@packetizer.com> wrote:
> Silvia,
>
> I believe H.263 would be covered if you license the MPEG-4 Visual "patent
> pool".  I might be wrong, but you can certainly get clarification from MPEG
> LA. You could also reach out to the list of companies who have claimed IPR
> at the ITU (search for ITU IPR database).  I think there are about 14
> companies who have IPR claims submitted.

According to this

http://www.nine-9s.com/h-263-codec-software.htm

Lucent is not covered by MPEG-LA, although it is not clear if they
actually claim IPR.

Regards
Marshall

>
> As with H.264, it was a very open process.  Those involved are likely the
> only ones with IPR claims.  Perhaps not, but given the pervasive use of
> H.263 already on the Internet, one would think if there was some IPR in
> hiding, it would have appeared already.
>
> Paul
>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Silvia Pfeiffer [mailto:silviapfeiffer1@gmail.com]
>> Sent: Monday, April 02, 2012 1:29 AM
>> To: Paul E. Jones
>> Cc: Stephan Wenger; Basil Mohamed Gohar; rtcweb@ietf.org
>> Subject: Re: [rtcweb] Proposal for H.263 baseline codec
>>
>> Note that H.264 isn't even under discussion here.
>>
>> Also, my question on H.263 hasn't been answered yet. I do wonder about the
>> patent situation there!
>>
>> Cheers,
>> Silvia.
>>
>> On Sun, Apr 1, 2012 at 8:56 PM, Paul E. Jones <paulej@packetizer.com>
>> wrote:
>> > Stephan,
>> >
>> >> The most commonly cited timeline for a widely in use technology to be
>> >> "save" from a patent viewpoint, based on equitable defenses such as
>> >> laches (in the US) is six years.  In some countries of significant
>> >> size, this time is longer, and in others, equitable defenses do not
>> >> exist.  (Very briefly, and perhaps incorrectly put, those equitable
>> >> defenses allow a defendant to argue successfully that a patent cannot
>> >> be enforced as the right holder knew that the patent claim was likely
>> >> being infringed, and did not enforce the patent.).
>> >
>> > Recall that Unisys forced people to pay royalties for using the GIF
>> > file format long after it became widely popular.  The company asserted
>> > IPR claims on GIF since it used a compression algorithm to which it
>> > acquired the rights, and it started doing so right near the end of the
>> > 20-year period during which a patent is considered valid.
>> >
>> > In short, I really do not think one should ever assume it might be
>> > safe to use any technology.
>> >
>> >> In addition, as I pointed out in the meeting, the use of a video
>> >> codec created by a body such as MPEG or ITU-T SG16 has the advantage
>> >> of that the patents of all participating players are available at
>> >> least under Reasonable and Non Discriminatory (RAND) terms.  This may
>> >> sound like a Bad Thing if you operate under a business model that
>> >> prevents you to pay anything for patent licenses, but it is surely a
>> >> Good Thing if you are willing to dish out a moderate amount of money
>> >> for a license.  RAND recently has gotten teeth, not so much in terms
>> >> of the monetary compensation aspect, but in terms of difficulty (if
>> >> not unavailability) to obtain injunctive relive, among others.  H.26x
>> >> and the MPEG standards benefit from RAND commitments, VP8, AFAIK, does
>> not.
>> >
>> > I believe your point here is perhaps worth even more consideration.
>> >
>> > I really know nothing about the IPR that exists or might be claimed on
>> VP8.
>> > That said, I know there has such an incredible amount of work by so
>> > many companies to produce H.264 that I would be utterly surprised to
>> > find that
>> > VP8 does not infringe on something.  All of the technology that went
>> > into
>> > H.264 represents only a subset of all of the IPR that exists in the
>> > video coding space.
>> >
>> > It's the rest of the IPR, a bunch of IPR owned by companies who
>> > actually have significant investment in video coding technologies,
>> > that I believe people should worry about.  Everyone who worked on
>> > H.264 did so as part of an open standards process, as you mention
>> > above.  They spent a lot of time and energy in the process, coming to
>> > an agreement to license the technology that went into H.264.  They did
>> > not agree to license technology that did not go into H.264.  So, if
>> > one of those participating companies were to subsequently sue over
>> > some IPR used in VP8, I would not dare call them a troll.
>> >
>> > Trolls always exist and may even lay claims to H.264, but I suspect it
>> > would be much harder for a troll to lay claim to H.264.  That codec
>> > spent years in development with input from tons of people.  If a troll
>> > were to come in and lay claim to some part of H.264, I suspect there
>> > would be several companies that would stand up and beat them down.
>> > After all, a claim against H.264 would not only present a problem for
>> > the defendant in a lawsuit, but would be an issue for every company
>> > with IPR on H.264.  Further, no matter what part of H.264 such a troll
>> > might decide to pick on, there are a number of world-class engineers
>> > who (as you indicated about H.263) could probably name the person or
>> > persons who contributed the section of text, algorithm, procedure, etc.,
>> all of which is covered with a known license.
>> >
>> > VP8 does not have the benefit of such significant peer review and
>> > collaboration, nor does it benefit from any IPR licensing agreements
>> > from legitimate companies holding tons of video coding-related IPR.
>> >
>> > Paul
>> >
>> > _______________________________________________
>> > rtcweb mailing list
>> > rtcweb@ietf.org
>> > https://www.ietf.org/mailman/listinfo/rtcweb
>
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