Wednesday, March 30, 2005

VIA EXPANDS H.264 PATENT POOL WITH 8x8 INC.: 8x8 announced trhat they are contributing U.S. patent #6,249,318, the technology for implementing motion estimation within the AVC video compression standard, to Via Licensing's H.264 portfolio of patents essential for implementation of the joint ISO/IEC (ISO/IEC 14496-10) and ITU (ITU-T Rec. H.264) video coding standard.

Motion estimation is a video compression enhancement process accomplished by examining the movement of video information between individual and/or multiple past and/or future video frames and optimally encoding the movement of this information. 8x8's motion estimation technology has been independently evaluated as an essential component of the Baseline, Main and Extended profiles of the H.264 standard.

H.264, one of the newest emerging standards for standards-based video compression, provides greatly enhanced compression performance and is suited to a broad range of applications, including video telephony, Internet protocol streaming, gaming, high-definition DVD, mobile device broadcast, and compressed personal video recording, among many others. AVC is estimated to be two to three times more efficient than the widely deployed MPEG-2 video codec.

- These patent pooling arrangements are quickly becoming essential practices for small companies looking to gain access to markets incorporating standardized technologies. Joint licensing programs (i.e., patent "pools") are a way for companies who own patents that are essential to a specification to provide other companies with access to those patents to enable a broader market for products that implement the specification. The joint licensing programs help to integrate complementary technologies and reduce transaction costs for both licensors and licensees. They also remove uncertainty about the availability of patent licenses and their costs. Finally, they bring a measure of stability to patent licensing for a particular technology by reducing litigation risks and by establishing a market rate, thus making it easier for licensees to obtain licenses, and also allowing licensors who are interested in obtaining a reasonable return on their research investment to do so in a market-enabling and cost-effective manner.

One of the big players in this practice are companies like Via Licensing (a subsidiary of Dolby Laboratories) which provides patent licensing services for media technologies used around the world. Via Licensing offers to provide efficient access to foundational patents on which standards and markets are built.

Another is MPEG LA, which is a MPEG licensing agency. Some 24 different companies own the 650 worldwide essential patents for the MPEG-2 video standard for compressing digital information. Accordingly, assembling the necessary patent licenses could present a big roadblock -- negotiating licenses with 24 companies represents a lot of lawyer's fees. (The money could be better spent designing new products.) That's where a licensing agency comes in, acting as a middleman between the patent-holders and the equipment manufacturer. Approximately 800 manufacturers worldwide currently license MPEG-2 technology from MPEG LA, the largest (but not only) private patent licensing company, for patents used in set-top boxes, DVD players and television receivers and decoders, personal computers and DVD discs.

For an excellent overview of patent pooling and its effects, check out Carl Shapiro's article "Navigating the Patent Thicket: Cross Licenses, Patent Pools, and Standard-Setting," posted on University of California at Berkeley's website.

Seja o primeiro a comentar


This Blog/Web Site ("Blog") is for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. Use of the Blog does not create any attorney-client relationship between you and Peter Zura or his firm. Persons requiring legal advice should contact a licensed attorney in your state. Any comment posted on the Blog can be read by any Blog visitor; do not post confidential or sensitive information. Any links from another site to the Blog are beyond the control of Peter Zura and does not convey his, or his past or present employer(s) approval, support, endorsement or any relationship to any site or organization.

The 271 Patent Blog © 2008. Template by Dicas Blogger.