Harm to standards and compatibility
Patents harm standards and compatibility by blocking the inclusion of necessary or important functionality.
Standards and compatibility are essential for software - more so than other fields. If a word processor or a video player cannot read popular document or video formats, it is simply not a functional word processor or video player. Reading other formats and protocols, regardless of how innovative, will not suffice to fulfil the role of being a document reader or video player.
Standards with patent problems
- GIF used to have patent problems when using LZW compression. These patents are now expired.
- Multimedia Home Platform
- Jpeg2000 - the web standard that many worked on but nobody used
- mpeg (mp3 and mpeg video)
- OOXML - a Microsoft document format
- OpenGL 3
- Real Media - audio and video formats with patent problems
- ISO 9660 Rock Ridge Interchange Protocol - afflicted by the Microsoft FAT patents
- G.729, G.722, and G.723.1
Possible defence against non-disclosed patents
In 2005, Qualcomm, which was the assignee of US5,452,104 and US5,576,767, sued Broadcom in US District Court, alleging that Broadcom infringed the two patents by making products that were compliant with the H.264 video compression standard. In 2007, the District Court found that the patents were unenforceable because Qualcomm had failed to disclose them to the JVT prior to the release of the H.264 standard in May 2003. In December 2008, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the District Court's order that the patents be unenforceable but remanded to the District Court with instructions to limit the scope of unenforceability to H.264 compliant products.
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Related pages on ESP Wiki
- audio-video patents
- Interoperability exceptions - a legislative idea for a partial victory
- Harm with neither litigation nor threats
- Patenting around what will become essential
- Patent ambush (also discusses submarine patents)
- Inequality between small and large patent holders
- FRAND - discrimination via so-called "Reasonable, and non-discriminatory" terms
- Patenting data formats
- The problems of patents in standards, by Bruce Perens
- Analysis on balance: Standardisation and Patents, by Georg Greve
- Microsoft's Open Specification Promise: No Assurance for GPL, by SFLC
- Patents in Standards, from wikibook "FOSS Open Standards"
- Standards, Patents and the Dynamics of Innovation on the World Wide Web, by w3c's Daniel Weitzner
- A Jesuit's Guide to Open Standards, about patents and standards, by Glyn Moody
- Definition of "royalty-free" for standards, W3C
- Xiph.Org Comments for the Federal Trade Commission Patent Standards Workshop, 14 June 2011, Xiph.org (audio-video software)
Specific standards harmed
- The Widgets Updating standard, of W3C blocked by Apple's patent
- IETF: Please reject the "Transport Layer Security (TLS) Authorization Extensions" proposed standard, by FSF
- Microsoft: "Our software patents preclude interoperability", 2006 press release by FSFE
- The VideoLan media player and other software for working with video formats are threatened by software patents
- Does FFmpeg infringe patents? We don't know
- The jpeg file format was threatened, article by PubPat
- See Qualcomm Inc. v. Broadcom Corp., No. 2007-1545, 2008-1162 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 1, 2008). For articles in the popular press, see signonsandiego.com, "Qualcomm loses its patent-rights case" and "Qualcomm's patent case goes to jury"; and bloomberg.com "Broadcom Wins First Trial in Qualcomm Patent Dispute"