US Company Requests Royalties for JPEG Use
Considerable buzz has been stirred around the issue of free use of the .JPG file format standard, as a US company has started claiming a patent over it and it has been supported and backed in this efforts by Sony itself.
In light of the extended interest we all have in this I have collected a few key points from the interested Web sites that update what the status quo is on this front:
"The ISO standards body will take the unprecedented step of withdrawing the JPEG image format as a formal standard if Forgent Networks, a small Texan company, continues to demand royalties on a seventeen-year old patent."
"Forgent Networks demands royalties on a seventeen-year old patent. Forgent acquired the a patent in 1997, and according to Richard Clark, JPEG committee member and JPEG.org webmaster, Forgent's royalty grab -- coming after two decades of royalty-free use -- means that ISO is obliged to withdraw the specification."
The Jpeg.org web site at:
http://www.jpeg.org/newsrel1.html states the following:
"Considerable interest has been expressed in the views of the JPEG committee concerning claims made by Forgent Networks Inc on their web site concerning intellectual property that Forgent have obtained through their acquisition of Compression Labs Inc.
They refer specifically to US Patent 4,698,672, which refers amongst other claims to technology which might be applied in run length coding, found in many technologies including the implementations of a baseline version of ISO/IEC 10918-1, commonly referred to as JPEG.
The committee has examined these claims briefly, and at present believes that prior art exists in areas in which the patent might claim application to ISO/IEC 10918-1 in its baseline form.
The committee have also become aware that other organisations including Philips, and Lucent may also be claiming some elements of intellectual property that might be applied to the original JPEG and JBIG (IS 11544 standards).
As a response to this, the JPEG committee will be collecting, through its new web site (to be launched shortly) a substantial repository of prior art and it invites submissions, particularly where the content may be applied to claims of intellectual property.
A note will be placed on the web site shortly explaining the process for such submissions.
This effort will take some time to organise, but the JPEG committee hope to have it in place prior to its next meeting in Shanghai in October 2002.
It has always been a strong goal of the JPEG committee that its standards should be implementable in their baseline form without payment of royalty and license fees, and the committee would like to record their disappointment that some organisations appear to be working in conflict with this goal.
...The up and coming JPEG 2000 (file format) standard has been prepared along these lines, and agreement reached with over 20 large organisations holding many patents in this area to allow use of their intellectual property in connection with the standard without payment of license fees or royalties."
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