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

"Paul E. Jones" <> Mon, 02 April 2012 07:16 UTC

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From: "Paul E. Jones" <>
To: 'Silvia Pfeiffer' <>
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Date: Mon, 02 Apr 2012 03:16:43 -0400
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Subject: Re: [rtcweb] Proposal for H.263 baseline codec
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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.

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.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Silvia Pfeiffer []
> Sent: Monday, April 02, 2012 1:29 AM
> To: Paul E. Jones
> Cc: Stephan Wenger; Basil Mohamed Gohar;
> 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 <>
> 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
> >
> >