MPEG LA Announces Open Call for VP8 Patent Claims
Several weeks ago I wrote here about Google removing its support for the H.264 video codec. Google was focusing their support for the VP8 codec—making it open source and royalty-free.
Now more news:
MPEG LA Announces a Call for Patents Essential to VP8 Video Codec:
“…any party that believes it has patents that are essential to the VP8 video codec specification is invited to submit them for a determination of their essentiality by MPEG LA’s patent evaluators.” Read announcement
Will VP8 lose as open-source choice?
Google’s decision was to support VP8 (and WebM) as an open–source standard for video compression: “...to invest in open technology to move the platform forward, or to accept the status quo of a fragmented platform where the pace of innovation may be clouded by the interests of those collecting royalties.“
MPEG LA is trolling for organizations that believe they have developed or have overlapping parts of the VP8 algorithm. Those people can come forward and submit those claims to MPEG LA for evaluation (I have visions of a geek version of "American Idol"). Then the patent pool will decide if they want to make a patent claim on any and all use of VP8.
Ultimately, if this whole process is successful, there is not much advantage in developers implementing a non-open-source version of VP8 into the WebM container for the HTML5 <video> tag. Royalty freedom is the key point of its support by Google and others.
I would think if MPEG LA had something tangible to protect they would not be issuing this open call. Plus even if successful in these assertions, they still need to prove actual infringements. The world of software patents is one giant legal quagmire. This will further cloud the future of video standards for Web delivery. But on a positive note, it will support the legal industry and provide jobs for lawyers in these troubled economic times.
The deadline for submission is March 18th but it will be months before any real decisions are forthcoming. Now could be your big chance!