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

Basil Mohamed Gohar <> Wed, 04 April 2012 13:42 UTC

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Date: Wed, 04 Apr 2012 09:42:12 -0400
From: Basil Mohamed Gohar <>
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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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What you are asking for is something no one in the media industry offers
for something comparable.  As was pointed out elsewhere on this list,
even the H.264 standard has been updated to include additional patents
over time deemed to be "essential".  One could be non-infringing in the
past and suddenly find yourself infringing.

I don't know what all of Google's public statements about VP8 IPR status
are, but we know that the patents they own are granted via the license,
and we know that a public call for the formation of a patent pool over a
year ago has yielded not even a follow-up announcement from MPEG-LA.

Furthermore, not a single patent has been brought forward publicly as
being even remotely doubtful as to its application to VP8.

So, until there is some actual evidence that there is an IPR threat,
then with all due respect, statements such as yours must be classified
as spreading FUD, because they serve to drive adoption away from a free,
open, unencumbered standard to one that is on baseless claims.

Libre Video

On 04/04/2012 01:23 AM, Paul E. Jones wrote:
> Basil,
> I disagree.  If VP8 is believed so strongly to be free of any IPR, then
> Google could boldly indemnify a company.  Personally, I have my doubts that
> it is.
> MPEG-LA is not in the business of indemnifying people, nor do I believe they
> would make a claim that H.264 is not covered by another patent holder.  That
> said, I do believe that there is a significantly increased probability that
> all patent holders either license through MPEG-LA or have listed IPR on
> H.264 in the ITU's IPR database.
> I would have a high degree of confidence that I could identify all H.264 IPR
> holders.  I have no degree of confidence I could do the same for VP8.
> Paul
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: [] On Behalf
>> Of Basil Mohamed Gohar
>> Sent: Wednesday, April 04, 2012 12:25 AM
>> To:
>> Subject: Re: [rtcweb] Google VP8 Patent Grant for third parties [Was
>> Re:Proposal for H.263 baseline codec]
>> While it would be great if such a thing were possible, even the MPEG-LA
>> does not indemnify users of H.264 from any IPR claims.  Expecting Google
>> to do so is unreasonable.  Moreover, there are other practical issues such
>> as NDAs that patent litigation frequently invokes that would still allow
>> someone to be sued even if Google did offer indemnification.
>> The strongest thing Google can do, I think, is what they already do in
>> relation to nullifying all grants to their patents that cover VP8 should
>> someone engage in a lawsuit against Google.  The software patent
>> landscape, sadly, does not leave many more options on the table.
>> Perhaps someone more familiar with patent law can expand and/or correct
>> what I've said.
>> It should go without saying that IANAL.
>> --
>> Libre Video
>> On 04/03/2012 10:45 PM, Paul E. Jones wrote:
>>> Will Google indemnify all implementers against any IPR claims?  Do
>>> that, and I think the debate would be over.
>>> Paul
>>> *From:* [] *On
>>> Behalf Of *Serge Lachapelle
>>> *Sent:* Tuesday, April 03, 2012 1:55 PM
>>> *To:*
>>> *Subject:* [rtcweb] Google VP8 Patent Grant for third parties [Was
>>> Re:Proposal for H.263 baseline codec]
>>> [Forking the thread]
>>> Hello folks,
>>> Google confirms that the VP8 patent grant applies to both third-party
>>> hardware and software implementations of VP8.
>>> Google encourages the community to create hardware implementations of
>>> VP8, and has recently blogged about a number of new hardware
>>> implementations on the WebM blog (
>> hardware.html
>>> ).
>>> Google is quite proud of what the community has done with VP8 and
>>> looks forward to seeing more implementations of VP8 in both hardware
>>> and software.
>>> Regards,
>>> /Serge Lachapelle, Google, Stockholm
>>> On Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 16:53, Stephan Wenger <
>>> <>> wrote:
>>> On 3.29.2012 16:24 , "Basil Mohamed Gohar" <
>>> <>>
>>> wrote:
>>>> On 03/29/2012 10:20 AM, Stephan Wenger wrote:
>>>>> The second part of your sentence may or may not be true, depending on
>>>>> your
>>>>> relationship with google, your willingness to use the webm
>>>>> implementation
>>>>> in unchanged form, and other factors.  Please see the webm license
>>>>> conditions, which AFAIK can be found here:
>>>> Correct.  I think you are referring to this part, explicitly:
>>>>> If you or your agent or exclusive licensee institute or order or
>> agree
>>>>> to the institution of patent litigation against any entity (including
>>>>> a cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit) alleging that this
>>>>> implementation of VP8 or any code incorporated within this
>>>>> implementation of VP8 constitutes direct or contributory patent
>>>>> infringement, or inducement of patent infringement, then any patent
>>>>> rights granted to you under this License for this implementation of
>>>>> VP8 shall terminate as of the date such litigation is filed.
>>>> Perhaps I assumed that that is a very reasonable part of the license.
>>>> That is, if you are suing someone alleging a patent infringement within
>>>> VP8, you are no longer granted the license to use VP8's patented
>>>> technologies that Google owns.
>>> Yes, that's one issue.  Call it personal preference for different type
>> of
>>> reciprocity conditions :-)  (I could rant about it for hours, but let's
>>> continue to pretend that this is mostly a technical mailing list)
>>> The other issue, though (the fact that the license grant extends only to
>>> the VP8 implementation as provided by google, and does not extent to
>>> derivative works such as hardware implementations) should be moderately
>>> alarming even for an open source person.  With respect to this clause, I
>>> will note that I criticized the licensing conditions in private and in
>>> public (IETF mike) several times, months ago, and nothing happened.
>>> Suggests to me one of three things: (1) google is a large company and
>>> decisions take time, or (2) google's legal is currently occupied with
>>> other stuff, or (3) that the choice of language is intentional, and
>>> intended to prevent forks.  Take your pick.
>>> Stephan
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